I gave several case studies for discussion, all of which were experiences I had as either a graduate student or a mentor. The ones that led to the most discussion were ones that involved student dissertations, and the issue of whether the advisor should be a co-author. This question really varies by discipline, lab, and specific situation. Questions we considered included whether the mentor should ever be the first author (e.g., if the student graduates and doesn’t ever write it up for publication)? What if the student collected his own data? What if the student collected her own data, but the advisor funded the data collection? What about future papers the student writes from those data, such as papers that come from the dissertation data collection, but were not written up in the dissertation?
We also talked about when to “give up the fight.”
We also talked about:
Differing standards across disciplines in the meaning of the last author.
Whether advisors should put timelines on time to submission or publication, either after completing a thesis/dissertation, or after claiming a research question.
Should faculty expect the same level of contribution from a student co-author as they do from a colleague/peer?
What recourse does a student have if there are issues in the mentoring relationship?
And we went over some best practices in authorship determination and involvement (some of these ideas come from the APA):
Start the conversation early, before too much work has occurred.
Revisit the discussion about authorship as often as needed, for instance, when one person is doing more/less than anticipated.
We discussed the idea of written authorship agreements. I’ve never used one, but now wonder if I should.
All authors must see and sign off on drafts before submitted. This point may seem obvious, but I have one publication that I didn’t know existed until someone emailed me and asked for a copy.
See my syllabus for additional readings on these topics.
“The post Mentoring, authorship, and collaboration first appeared on Eva Lefkowitz’s blog on February 15, 2015.”