Patterns of authors contribution in scientific manuscripts

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【作者】 Edilson Anselmo Corrêa Júnior  Filipi Nascimento Silva  Luciano da Fontoura Costa  Diego R. Amancio 

【关键词】Authorship Specific Role Number Of Authors 1st Author Last Author 

【摘要】Science is becoming increasingly more interdisciplinary, giving rise to more diversity in the areas of expertise within research labs and groups. This also have brought changes to the role researchers in scientific works. As a consequence, multi-authored scientific papers have now became a norm for high quality research. Unfortunately, such a phenomenon induces bias to existing metrics employed to evaluate the productivity and success of researchers. While some metrics were adapted to account for the rank of authors in a paper (their position along the sequence of authors), many journals are now requiring a description of the specific roles of each author in a publication. Surprisingly, the investigation of the relationship between the rank of authors and their credited contributions has been limited to a few studies. By analyzing such kind of data, here we show, quantitatively, that the regularity in the authorship contributions decreases with the number of authors in a paper. Furthermore, we found that the rank of authors and their roles in papers follows three general patterns according to the nature of their contributions, such as writing, data analysis, and the conduction of experiments. This was accomplished by collecting and analyzing the data retrieved from PLoS ONE and by devising an entropy-based measurement to quantify the effective number of authors in a paper according to their contributions. The analysis of such patterns confirms that some aspects of the author ranking are in accordance with the expected convention, such as the fact that the first and last authors are more likely to contribute more in a scientific work. Conversely, such analysis also revealed that authors in the intermediary positions of the rank contribute more in certain specific roles, such as the task of collecting data. This indicates that the an unbiased evaluation of researchers must take into account the distinct types of scientific contributions.

【刊名】J. Informetrics

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