A Graduate Student’s Guide to Determining Authorship Credit and Authorship Order

Introduction

As a graduate student, conducting research and publishing your work is essential to your professional development and the advancement of your career. Your involvement in this process provides the opportunity to learn new skills, network with other researchers in your area of interest, and personally contribute new knowledge to the field. As you advance in your studies, you will likely carry increased responsibility throughout the research process, including the development of investigations, collecting and analyzing data, and presenting and publishing your findings. Although it is often viewed as the final stage and endpoint of a given study, publication actually reflects the culmination of efforts and contributions made by everyone involved that has made the dissemination of findings possible. Authorship is often the primary way by which to acknowledge the contributions of individuals involved in a project, and as a graduate student, it can be a rewarding experience and achievement to see your name on a published manuscript for the first time. Because of the importance placed on publication in psychology and related fields, and the increasing number of multi-authored articles (Gladding, 1984; Iammarino, O’Rourke, Pigg, & Weinberg, 1989), negotiating and determining authorship is an important part of the research process.

An open discussion on authorship among all individuals involved in a project is necessary throughout the research process. Specific issues involving authorship may become more salient at different points in a project, and can reflect either new developments or revisited issues from an earlier discussion. As such, we view the negotiation and determination of authorship as a dynamic process, rather than a predetermined or fixed decision. This process to proceed in the spirit of collaboration and in an egalitarian manner among all individuals involved in the study. The purpose of this website is to introduce and provide information regarding the process of negotiating and determining authorship, particularly from a graduate student perspective. You will also find materials and resources that outline a variety of issues and topics related to authorship. The included worksheets and agreements (which can be found here) can be used to facilitate a dialogue with your advisor and/or colleagues around authorship, and can be referred to throughout the research process. In addition, references to pertinent articles and links to examples of university guidelines are provided.

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