Academic papers are usually written by several people. Over the past few years, collaborative writing across scientific disciplines and geographical barriers has increased dramatically, and standards for the role of these coauthors are needed.
The contribution of each author
The role of co-authors in writing scientific articles ranges from analyzing design data to organizing them in a document format. Traditionally, the first author with the most role is the most recognized, and the role of the other author is not clearly defined. In many fields, the last author who is responsible for the overall support of the research is recognized as the first author. However, this is a practice and not always the right one.
In fact, the order of author names listed in the paper will be based on contributions, alphabetical order, age, or as needed. It is a factor that disturbs the actual contribution from the outsider and the evaluation process.
Colleagues, editors, educational institutions, and research support agencies want to know more about how much a particular co-author has contributed. It is easy to see who contributed more if two authors have contributed, but it becomes more difficult if more than three people are involved.
‘Guest author’ and ‘ghost author’
There have been many discussions about the author’s classification , but only about two concepts have been settled to some extent. The first is the guest author, which is listed on the co-authors list, but does not participate in actual research or writing. Particularly, some researchers who have not entered the academia for some time or have had a poor career are willing to name it this way in order to increase the likelihood of publishing prominent journals in the future.
The second is a ghost writer who has made enough contributions to writing research and writing, but has failed to raise his name. There are cases where a professional writer is involved in writing, excluded due to the internal circumstances of his or her organization, or the effect of minimizing the number of coauthors is increased.
Many journals require authors to submit contributions by authors in a prescribed or free form at the time of receipt . Research support organizations are also looking for ways to objectively verify support performance.
The Canadian-based nonprofit International Association for the Standardization of Academic Information Management (CASRAI) has created a credibility management platform called CRediT . This allows each journal to use a consistent form of attribution assessment and unify relevant information. It has already been applied to online papers such as Editorial Managers .
In addition to its role as a co-author, CRediT reflects its contributions in various ways. Co-authors, as well as the names of all those who have contributed to the research and writing, must be listed. One person can be in a variety of roles, and a role can be assigned to many people as well.
In the research information management platform OpenRIF , individual researchers and support organizations can easily grasp the contribution of each coauthor. Through this open source-based system, we are helping to communicate with the scientific community and encourage researchers to see their achievements. In addition to ORCID , SHARE , and DataCite , OpenRIF aims to establish a transparent information platform for researchers’ evaluation.
Using such objective tools, researchers, support organizations and journals will be able to reduce the problems associated with co-authors. Especially, it will be very helpful for the development of collaborative research conducted by various students majoring in various fields.