Last year Prof. Matthew Bennett1 raised some interesting issues about academic authorship on this award-winning BU Blog. Authorship is an issue that many academic colleague see as challenging. On September 27th, 2012 two of us replied to this blog by adding some of our own observations on the web. 2 Having penned our online comments we discussed the issue with BU Visiting Faculty Dr. Padam Simkhada Senior Lecturer in International Health at ScHARR, University of Sheffield (www.shef.ac.uk/scharr/sections/ph/staff/profiles/padamsimkhada). Between the three of us we came to the conclusion that the issue of academic authorship can be very confusing as well as tricky.
We discussed a wide-range of issues around academic authorship, including who should be an author and who should not be so, the order of authors, and that there are different conventions between different academic disciplines. Being academic we rapidly came to the conclusion that there was a paper in this. We drafted our ideas, searched the literature for other discussions on authorship, general guidelines on authorship, etc. We wrote the paper and submitted it to the academic journal Health Renaissance; an Open-Access journal, which is freely available world-wide. The editor liked it and published our paper ‘Academic authorship: who, why and in what order?’ this month as a guest editorial. 3
We would like to highlight that there are two separate messages in the publication of this paper. The first message is about academic scholarship; some of our colleagues may find the content of this paper is a useful guide in deciding authorship order, or at least in helping to open the debate about who should be included as co-author and who is not eligible. The second message is more about academic citizenship, namely that messages on the BU Blog and even comments in reply to other people’s messages may contain useful information to the wider academic community and should be taken further. Our message here is don’t see the BU Blog as an end point, see it as a stepping stone to the wider academic world!
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen*, Prof. Vanora Hundley* & Dr. Padam Simkhada**
* Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health, HSC, Bournemouth University
** ScHARR, The University of Sheffield
1. Bennett, M. (2012) What’s in a list?, BU Research Blog, http://blogs.bournemouth.ac.uk/research/2012/09/27/whats-in-a-list/?utm_source=digest&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily
2. Hundley, V., van Teijlingen, E. (2012) Response to What’s in a list?, http://blogs.bournemouth.ac.uk/research/2012/09/27/whats-in-a-list/#comment-17234