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如何決定論文的作者順序?




先前討論論文署名權的文章曾提到ICMJE指南可以幫助研究人員判斷研究貢獻程度是否有資格列為作者,後來黃曉磊老師的文章《論文署名,學術不端和不正當競爭》則更深入探討這個議題。科學研究論文的作者順序需要經過深思才能決定,在決定作者順序之前,了解第一作者跟通訊作者的概念是很重要的。




誰是第一作者?

第一作者通常主導大部分的研究工作,在一般的情況下,當引用一篇論文時,提到的就是第一作者的名字,如Jones et al. report that…。以第一作者身份發表論文對博士學生的學術發展是很重要的,全球大部分的博士課程畢業標準都要求學生要以第一作者身份發表至少一篇論文,這也就是為什麼如果有2位以上的博士學生一起合作畢業論文時會有作者排序爭議;對博士後及資深教授來說,作為第一作者發表期刊論文是爭取研究經費、申請教職及教職升等的重要因素,因此,英文論文發表的作者名單裡的第一作者一直是最搶手的位置。

在第一作者之後,作者順序是根據對研究的貢獻程度排序,貢獻越多則排名越前面,不過有時候可能會有多位作者貢獻度相同,為避免作者排序爭議,建議在研究初期就討論決定作者排序,然後在研究進行時隨時記錄每個人的貢獻。  


通訊作者的角色是什麼?

投稿的時候,期刊會要求一位通訊作者,通訊作者會收到所有的期刊通知,包含審稿進度、同儕審閱意見以及審查結果等。雖然期刊認為通訊作者只是單純的行政角色,在一些國家文化裡這個角色與資歷相關,通訊作者通常是研究主持人與資深研究員,他們的通訊地址基本上不會有什麼變動,萬一研究主持人剛好是貢獻最多的人,他可以同時擔任研究的第一作者與通訊作者。

延伸閱讀:如何處理署名權爭議
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Deciding the order of authors on a paper




In my earlier post on authorship, I had discussed ICMJE guidelines that help researchers in deciding whether a contributor qualifies to be an author or not. In this post, I am going to discuss the order in which author names should be included in a multi-author paper. The order of authors on a scientific paper needs to be determined after careful deliberation. Prior to deciding the author order, it is important to understand the concept of a first and a corresponding author.




Who should be the first author?

The first author is usually the person who carried out majority of the experimental work, which reflects in the common practice of referring to a paper by the first author’s name e.g. ‘Jones et al. report that…’ Publishing a paper as the first author is very crucial for the scientific career of a Ph.D. student. Most Ph.D. programs worldwide require a Ph.D. student to have at least one first-authored paper in order to qualify for a degree. So an authorship dispute would be inevitable if two Ph.D. students were to work on the same project for their degree. For post-doctoral researchers and senior professors, publishing first-authored papers is important for receiving funding and getting promoted or re-hired. Thus, the first name in an author list is the most sought-after position in a scientific publication.

After the first author, the subsequent authors are usually listed as per their contribution to the research, starting from the one who contributed the most to the least. However, sometimes multiple authors may have contributed equally, in which case the order of author names does not matter, and you can inform the journal editor of this. In order to avoid any authorship dispute, it is a good practice to discuss authorship and the order of authors at the beginning of the project itself, and keep a record of each of the contributors involved throughout the project.


What is the role of a corresponding author?

At the time of submission of a manuscript, journals require you to choose one of the authors as the corresponding author. The corresponding author is the one who receives all notifications from the journal including manuscript status, reviewers’ comments, and the final decision. Although journals usually perceive the role of a corresponding author as purely administrative, this role is associated with seniority in some cultures. The corresponding author is often the group leader or a senior researcher whose contact address is not likely to change in the near future. In cases where the main contributor of the study is also the group leader, he or she can be both first and corresponding author for the study.

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