Yesterday ResearchGate announced that the paper ‘Academic authorship: who, why and in what order?’  has been read 1000 times. The paper addresses two related issues in academic writing: (a) authorship; and (b) order of authors. The issue of authorship centres on the notion of who can be an author, who should be an author and who definitely should not be an author. The paper reminds the reader that this is partly discipline specific. The second issue, the order of authors, is usually dictated by the academic tradition from which the work comes. One can immediately envisage disagreements within a multi-disciplinary team of researchers where members of the team may have different approaches to authorship order. Prof. Vanora Hundley is the lead author and the paper is co-authored with Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen, both in the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH), and BU Visiting Professor Padam Simkhada. Padam is Professor of International Public Health in the Public Health Institute at Liverpool John Moores University.
Paper by Hundley et al. published 2013
This paper is part of a larger set of papers by academic in the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences addressing various aspects of academic writing and publishing. Many of these papers are in Open Access journals, hence easily available across the globe for anybody with an internet connection. The series has covered papers on selecting an appropriate title for an academic paper, the role of the journal editor, the publication process and many more [2-9].
- Hundley, V, van Teijlingen, E, Simkhada, P (2013) Academic authorship: who, why and in what order? Health Renaissance 11(2):98-101 www.healthrenaissance.org.np/uploads/Download/vol-11-2/Page_99_101_Editorial.pdf
- Pitchforth, E, Porter M, Teijlingen van E, Keenan Forrest, K.. (2005) Writing up & presenting qualitative research in family planning & reproductive health care, J Fam Plann Reprod Health Care 31(2): 132-135.
- Hall, J., Hundley, V., van Teijlingen, E. (2015) The journal editor: friend or foe? Women & Birth 28(2): e26-e29.
- Simkhada P, van Teijlingen E, Hundley V. (2013) Writing an academic paper for publication, Health Renaissance 11(1):1-5. www.healthrenaissance.org.np/uploads/Pp_1_5_Guest_Editorial.pdf
- van Teijlingen, E., Ireland, J., Hundley, V., Simkhada, P., Sathian, B. (2014) Finding the right title for your article: Advice for academic authors, Nepal J Epidemiol 4(1): 344-347.
- van Teijlingen E., Hundley, V., Bick, D. (2014) Who should be an author on your academic paper? Midwifery 30: 385-386.
- van Teijlingen, E, Simkhada, PP, Rizyal A (2012) Submitting a paper to an academic peer-reviewed journal, where to start? (Guest Editorial) Health Renaissance 10(1): 1-4.
- van Teijlingen, E, Simkhada. PP, Simkhada, B, Ireland J. (2012) The long & winding road to publication, Nepal J Epidemiol 2(4): 213-215 http://nepjol.info/index.php/NJE/article/view/7093/6388
- Pradhan, AK, van Teijlingen, ER. (2017) Predatory publishing: a great concern for authors, Med Sci 5(4): 43.
Paper by Hundley et al. published 2013
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
It is now possible to capture on BRIAN if a BU student has co-authored your publication. This information is important in monitoring our strategic KPIs.
If you have any publications which you know a BU student has co-authored, please can you ensure that not only are they in the list of authors for that publication, but that they are also added to the ‘co-author student’ field (it’s as simple as adding a name)? This will enable the student details to be captured in the publication reports.
Many thanks for your assitance.
M&C are currently working on the BU Annual Review and are looking for information on outputs that have been published in the past academic year that have been co-authored between academics and students.
If you have co-authored any papers with students or know of any BU colleagues who have then Toby Horner in M&C wants to hear from you so this can be included in the Annual Review. Contact Toby by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or telephone on extension 61328.