Subconscious ratings of inappropriate coauthorship in physics

In the largest and most detailed survey on the ethics of scientific coauthorship to date, members of the American Physical Society (APS) were asked to judge the number of appropriate coauthors on their last published papers in three different ways (1). The papers reported on by the respondents were papers in which the respondents’ authorship was more involved than chance would dictate. From this discrepancy it is possible to infer “subconscious” rates of inappropriate authorship. The shapes of the curves of these subconscious rates are very similar to the curves of the consciously reported inappropriate authorship though the actual rates are much higher. The earlier reported “conscious” ratings indicated that the probability of any third and subsequent coathors being inappropriate was 23% for the APS guideline, 67% for the tighter guideline of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors', or 59% if the guideline was "direct contributions to scientific discovery or invention"; the currently reported subconscious rates varies between 94 and 97%.



forgotten papers.doc