Multiple authorship in two English-language journals in radiation oncology.
Multiple authorship is the listing of more than one person as author of an article in the scholarly literature. Editors, researchers, and others in science publishing have raised concerns about the increasing number of authors being listed per article, the practice of "honorary authorship" (listing as an author someone who made little or no contribution to the work being reported), and the danger of the dilution of responsibility when many authors are involved. The authors studied multiauthorship in the two most popular English-language journals on radiation oncology, examining 1,908 papers and letters published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, and Physics (IJROBP) and Radiotherapy and Oncology (RO) from 1983 through 1987. There was no increase in the number of authors per article during this period, when the median number for IJROBP was four and that for RO was three. The number of authors varied by type of article, by country (France had the largest median number, six for IJROBP and five for RO), and by the authors' institution. The first author's gender was unrelated to the number of subsequent authors for an article. The proportion of men first authors varied widely between countries and institutions. Possible explanations for these variations include the multidisciplinary nature and complexity of some forms of research, institutional policies concerning the use of authorship as a commodity of exchange, and social-cultural factors.
Halperin, EC; Scott, J; George, SL
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