Study 1 was concerned with examining the relationship between author order and contribution statement in some 12,000 articles to determine what type of information is imparted in each case. ‘This analysis quantifies the risk of error when inferring contributions from author order and shows how this risk increases with team size and for certain types of authors', explained Carolin Haeussler. 'At the same time, the analysis suggests that some components of the value of contributions are reflected in author order but not in currently used contribution statements', she said.
Complementing the bibliometric analysis, Study 2 analyses survey data from more than 6,000 corresponding authors to examine how contribution statements are written and used. Professor Haeussler said: 'This analysis highlights important differences between fields and between senior versus junior scientists, as well as strongly diverging views about the benefits and limitations of contribution statements.'
On the basis of the two studies, the researchers wish to redefine important avenues for future research and consider implications for a broad range of stakeholders.
Direct link to the journal article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.1700404