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New article by Line Edslev Andersen and Brad Wray: "Rethinking the Value of Author Contribution Statements in Light of How Research Teams Respond to Retractions"

Episteme, vol. 20, iss. 2 (2023)


The authorship policies of scientific journals often assume that in order to be able to properly place credit and responsibility for the content of a collaborative paper we should be able to distinguish the contributions of the various individuals involved. Hence, many journals have introduced a requirement for author contribution statements aimed at making it easier to place credit and responsibility on individual scientists. We argue that from a purely descriptive point of view the practices of collaborating scientists are at odds with the requirement for author contribution statements. We also argue that from a normative point of view the authorship policies may be unnecessary. Our arguments draw on an examination of 35 years of retraction notices in the journal Science.