Being the first author on a paper is a big deal in academia. If you are not sure how to determine the order of authorship on your paper, a quick Google Scholar search will provide valuable insights.
You would guess that the order is determined by the amount of work or by whom came up with the original idea, right ? Let’s call this the common sense style:
by mutual agreement based on the number of hours each author committed to the project
by degree of contribution to the manuscript
by the extent of participation
in part by order of contribution to conception of the research
However, there are many more ways to decide on the order, here is a quick summary of what I found:
The arbitrary style
by order of birthright and degree date
on a basis other than relative contribution to this paper
The Galaxy Quest style (Never give up, never surrender)
The gaming style
The in house style
The random style
by the flip of a coin, by a coin toss, by flipping a coin, by a coin flip
by the toss of a coin and should be considered equal
by the flip of a weighted coin
by a flip of what [Dr X] claimed was a fair coin, on the basis of a fair coin tosses
by [Dr X] flip of a coin, by toss of a coin performed by [Dr X]
by a random process upon completion of the manuscript
The almost random style
by randomisation except the senior author
The food style:
by a coin flip in an expensive restaurant
The sport style
from a 25 game cricket series held at Imperial college field station during summer 1973
And finally, some more creative or obscure ways:
randomly with the S-plus sample function
by random fluctuation in the euro/dollar exchange rate
alpha-posed that people compare the sizes of betically
What’s your favorite method ?
UPDATED: found a few more.
UPDATED 2: now with links to papers (Phew.).