• November 1, 2014
November 01, 2014, 9:28:52 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with your Chronicle username and password
News: Talk online about your experiences as an adjunct, visiting assistant professor, postdoc, or other contract faculty member.
 
Pages: 1 [2]
  Print  
Author Topic: Can Dissertation Chair be First Author on Publication (ethics)  (Read 8295 times)
quasihumanist
Senior member
****
Posts: 894


« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2012, 10:01:39 PM »

My view on what should happen in pure mathematics follows.  Please note that pure mathematics has a tradition that all authors on a publication are considered equal (and ordered alphabetically), and advisors usually keep their names off papers coming from a dissertation even when they have contributed some significant help.  Similarly, people who give only minor contributions to a paper are not usually authors, though they are publicly acknowledged.  Pure mathematics rarely has any such thing as data.

1) The advisor and the student are joint authors on the publication.  Assuming the student has permanently left research, the circumstances under which the paper was written is described briefly at the end of the introduction.  (This is what is done when a collaboration ends because one person has passed away.  In some ways this is a similar situation.)

2) Especially at lower ranked schools, not all dissertations are publishable.  Usually a weak student will be allowed to graduate with a dissertation that is original but not significant enough to be worth publishing in any but the weakest journals.  If somehow it does happen that the results of the dissertation can be published, then having the advisor on a student's dissertation publication may indicate the student needed a lot of help.

The convention that advisors leave their names off papers from dissertations is not always followed.  These situations are generally further clarified in letters of recommendation (or simply by the publication history of the advisor).  When the student has managed to write his or her dissertation with less help from the advisor as is common, this will also be noted in letters of recommendation and is usually taken as an indicator of a student with high potential and ability in research.

3) The student publishes his or her part as a solo paper (acknowledging the advisor's help) and the other paper is published jointly.

4) The student publishes a solo paper, acknowledging the advisor's contribution.  (Ideally, the advisor has published his or her work separately beforehand.  Sometimes the advisor will even be prompted by the turn of events to publish his or her work in a lesser journal when he or she had not been previously planning to publish.)
Logged
heynonnynonnymouse
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 1,185


« Reply #16 on: May 04, 2012, 12:24:25 AM »

The only one of these situations that does not seem problematic to me, on face, is #3. It is not uncommon in my field for some of the work coming out of the dissertation be published with both student and advisor as authors, though it is always the student who is first author, and the advisor second. However, it's usually the case that the dissertation can turn into two papers, and one is sole-authored by the student as well.

I'm a dissertation-writing grad student in a psycholgy-related social science field. My advisor published the an article from his dissertation with his advisor as second author. I expect to publish at least one paper from my diss with my own advisor as second author as well.
Logged
totoro
Friendly Neighborhood Troll and
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 4,962


« Reply #17 on: May 04, 2012, 1:03:13 AM »

In my social science discipline it's the norm to list authors alphabetically, though I've rarely followed that. In related social science disciplines according to size of contribution, which is closer to what I've done usually. So, yes, this is very variable by discipline.
Logged
frogfactory
Totally Metal
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 10,600


« Reply #18 on: May 04, 2012, 8:16:02 AM »

If they're *faculty*, surely they should be more interested in getting last author than first, surely?

This is not the case for any of the fields that I am associated with.  My understanding is that this is only the custom in certain science fields.  In my field, faculty need first authored publications (and at some R1s, sole author publications) to get tenure and promotions. In my field, last author simply means you did the least amount of work on the project.

Huh, how interesting.  I had no idea.
Logged


At the end of the day, sometimes you just have to masturbate in the bathroom.
totoro
Friendly Neighborhood Troll and
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 4,962


« Reply #19 on: May 05, 2012, 2:42:58 AM »

If they're *faculty*, surely they should be more interested in getting last author than first, surely?

This is not the case for any of the fields that I am associated with.  My understanding is that this is only the custom in certain science fields.  In my field, faculty need first authored publications (and at some R1s, sole author publications) to get tenure and promotions. In my field, last author simply means you did the least amount of work on the project.

Huh, how interesting.  I had no idea.

Yeah, there a bunch of models which prevail in different disciplines:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academic_authorship#Order_of_authors_in_a_list



Logged
scampster
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 10,880


« Reply #20 on: May 05, 2012, 3:53:26 AM »

1). Student does mostly independent work, loses interest in the project after the dissertation is completed, and "gives" the project to chair. Chair subsequently publishes as first author and student second.

If the student gives consent to allowing the work to be published with the chair as first author then this seems fine to me.  Especially if the student has moved on from academics and this is the only way to get interesting research out to a broader audience. 


Personally, I think by not being the driving force behind publishing the work themselves, the student has relinquished consent to the advisor to publish it as the advisor sees fit (especially if the project was conducted using government funds). Whether the advisor takes first author depends on how much work is needed to get it into publishable form and if it is a field where last author is better anyway. Ultimately, official consent is given when all the authors have to confirm authorship by the journal.
Logged

When you are a scientist your opinions and prejudices become facts. Science is like magic that way!
anon99
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 3,939


« Reply #21 on: May 05, 2012, 8:20:14 AM »

I think it is fine to be first author in scenario 1 or 3, provided the chair talked to the student in scenario 1 and at least a year has passed without the student making progress.  Scenario 4 (student uses dataset created by chair) would still have students as first author.
Logged
wet_blanket
Some kind of
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 7,025


« Reply #22 on: May 05, 2012, 12:55:48 PM »

1). Student does mostly independent work, loses interest in the project after the dissertation is completed, and "gives" the project to chair. Chair subsequently publishes as first author and student second.

If the student gives consent to allowing the work to be published with the chair as first author then this seems fine to me.  Especially if the student has moved on from academics and this is the only way to get interesting research out to a broader audience. 


Personally, I think by not being the driving force behind publishing the work themselves, the student has relinquished consent to the advisor to publish it as the advisor sees fit (especially if the project was conducted using government funds). Whether the advisor takes first author depends on how much work is needed to get it into publishable form and if it is a field where last author is better anyway. Ultimately, official consent is given when all the authors have to confirm authorship by the journal.

In my field there are journals which demand 1) a breakdown of each author's contribution and 2) agreement from each author to be an author.  I wonder what would happen if the student not only lost interest, but went AWOL?  How would the journal deal with authorship in that case.
Logged

Let us let wet_blanket have the last word.
scampster
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 10,880


« Reply #23 on: May 05, 2012, 2:14:26 PM »

1). Student does mostly independent work, loses interest in the project after the dissertation is completed, and "gives" the project to chair. Chair subsequently publishes as first author and student second.

If the student gives consent to allowing the work to be published with the chair as first author then this seems fine to me.  Especially if the student has moved on from academics and this is the only way to get interesting research out to a broader audience. 


Personally, I think by not being the driving force behind publishing the work themselves, the student has relinquished consent to the advisor to publish it as the advisor sees fit (especially if the project was conducted using government funds). Whether the advisor takes first author depends on how much work is needed to get it into publishable form and if it is a field where last author is better anyway. Ultimately, official consent is given when all the authors have to confirm authorship by the journal.

In my field there are journals which demand 1) a breakdown of each author's contribution and 2) agreement from each author to be an author.  I wonder what would happen if the student not only lost interest, but went AWOL?  How would the journal deal with authorship in that case.

I am glad that my journals send them an e-mail that says something like "This paper has been submitted. You are a co-author. If you did not agree to this, let us know." So someone can go AWOL and it doesn't matter. They never have to give explicit consent. Gosh, I don't know what I would do if explicit consent was needed from someone who was AWOL, especially if they wrote a good chunk of it and leaving them them off would not be acceptable.
Logged

When you are a scientist your opinions and prejudices become facts. Science is like magic that way!
smencil
New member
*
Posts: 30


« Reply #24 on: May 07, 2012, 3:07:20 PM »

It seems unethical to me to give authorship to someone who didn't do a significant amount of work.  So the example above where someone was moved to first author because she needed it more would be unethical (i.e. unfair to those on the job market, for example, who earned their first author publications).
Logged
Pages: 1 [2]
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.9 | SMF © 2006-2008, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
  • 1255 Twenty-Third St., N.W.
  • Washington, D.C. 20037
subscribe today

Get the insight you need for success in academe.