Vol. 5 No. 1 (2021)

Giving Credit Where It's Due - The Complicated Practice of Scientific Authorship

Seth C. Rasmussen
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND 58108 USA

Published 2021-03-01

How to Cite

Rasmussen, S. C. (2021). Giving Credit Where It’s Due - The Complicated Practice of Scientific Authorship. Substantia, 5(1). https://doi.org/10.36253/Substantia-1183


Anyone who has participated in modern scientific publishing has experienced the potentially complex issue of coauthors, both in terms of who merits to be included on a particular paper and in what order should they be listed. During the early years of serial scientific publications in the 17th and 18th centuries, nearly all papers consisted of just a single author.  In contrast, the growing complexity of most present-day studies has required collaborative teams to accomplish the work needed to present a suitable report meriting publication. Unfortunately, there exists no firm, uniform rules for determining authorship and current practices can vary significantly, even to the point that the literature is now plagued with ethically questionable practices.