## How to determine the order of authorship in an academic paper

August 18, 2014 § 6 Comments

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

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]

The *almost random* style

The *food* style:

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

What’s your favorite method ?

UPDATED: found a few more.

UPDATED 2: now with links to papers (Phew.).

Good, very good! 🙂

So nice 😀

Lovely post. Any chance of putting links to some examples? I know two have been up on Twitter today, but having precedent is always useful! Common sense is what I use, but some of the other approaches look much more fun.

done ! enjoy !

[…] After starting this post, I learned about this compilation by Sylvain Deville (ht: Jeremy) and this one from Academia Obscura (ht: Stephen […]

[…] order by proximity to tenure decisions. Materials scientist Sylvain Deville has meticulously documented a host of unorthodox methods for determining author order. Randomisation is common, and at least 15 […]