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On Being a Scientist: A Guide to Responsible Conduct in Research, Third Edition
simulation tools, records of deliberations, and draft papers all can be posted online and accessed by anyone before any of these results have undergone peer review.
To the extent that these new communication methods speed and broaden the dissemination and verification of results, they strengthen research. Science also benefits when more individuals have greater access to raw data for use in their own work. However, if these new ways of disseminating research results bypass traditional quality
Andre, a young assistant professor, and two graduate students have been working on a series of related experiments for the past several years. Now it is time to write up the experiments for publication, but the students and Andre must first make an important decision. They could write a single paper with one first author that would describe the experiments in a comprehensive manner, or they could write two shorter, less-complete papers so that each student could be a first author.
Andre favors the first option, arguing that a single publication in a more visible journal would better suit all of their purposes. This alternative also would help Andre, who faces a tenure decision in two years. Andre’s students, on the other hand, strongly suggest that two papers be prepared. They argue that one paper encompassing all the results would be too long and complex. They also say that a single paper might damage their career opportunities because they would not be able to point to a paper on which they were first authors.
How could Andre have anticipated this problem? And what sort of general guidelines could he have established for lab members?
If Andre’s laboratory or institution has no official policies covering multiple authorship and multiple papers from a single study, how should this issue be resolved?
How could Andre and the students draw on practices within their discipline to resolve this dispute?
If the students feel that their concerns are not being addressed, to whom should they turn?
What kind of laboratory or institutional policies could keep disputes like this from occurring?
If a single paper is published, how can the authors make clear to review committees and funding agencies their various roles and the importance of the paper?