Weighing Contributions to an Article


A scenario about a journal editor who realizes that a manuscript submitted for review is similar to that of one of dissertators.


You employ Postdoc 1 who begins a research project to isolate microorganisms that have a particular enzymatic activity against a target molecule. Excellent progress is achieved with the isolation of the organism, but you, as the professor in charge of the project want to publish in a higher quality journal. You put Postdoc 2 on the project. This postdoc has extensive experience in protein purification and characterization.

After 12 months Postdoc 1 accepts a position and leaves after writing a paper based on existing data, but which is not sufficient for the journal in which you want to publish. Finally, a paper giving the full characterization of the target molecule is ready to submit to the desired journal. Postdoc 2, has generated most of the data in the paper and has also written a considerable part of the manuscript.

Who should be first author?


Caroline Whitbeck introduced methods and modules for discussing numerous issues in responsible conduct of research at a Sigma Xi Forum in 2000. Partial funding for the development of this material came from an NIH grant.

You can find the entire sequence on the OEC at Scenarios for Ethics Modules in the Responsible Conduct of Research. Some information in these historical modules may be out-of-date; for instance, there may be a new edition of the professional society's code that is referred to in an item. If you have suggestions for updates, please contact the OEC.