“What does it mean to be one of a hundred authors?”

Scholarly Kitchen asks the question, focusing on the difficulty of figuring out who did what and who deserves credit for the work.

But I’m also concerned about a potential diffusion of responsibility.  Who ensures that the paper is accurate and meaningful at the highest level, when dozens or even hundreds of “authors” are on board?  Who will have the courage to pull the plug on an experiment that isn’t going well, if so many people have an investment in the publication of the results?

It’s similar, in some ways, to what happens when multiple screenwriters are hired to work on a movie script (“too many cooks in the kitchen”) or when law professors sign an amicus brief that they didn’t write and thereby “compromise their integrity.”

HT Retraction Watch.




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