View Full Version : author order

Toni Arndt
04-22-2002, 12:38 AM
Dear List,

One comment in the recent discussion on plagiarism was that unethical professors may use students' work and publish it with the professor as first author and the student only as second. This implied a "ranking" of authors on a publication going from 1st = most important (did most work, is responsible for the project, receives most credit etc), 2nd = next most important and so on to last = least important but still somehow involved.

I have spent some time in Sweden and here there is a general consensus that the last author is often the supervisor of the project (or in the above case the student's professor if he had some morals). The "importance ranking" then stretches from the second to the next to last author. Is this different in the USA? This would appear to introduce confusion when reading publications from different groups from different countries. There would be many Swedish professors whom have invested considerable time in their students' work but, as they are listed last on the publications may be regarded as quite unimportant overseas.

Are there different opinions on how to interpret which author is written where? Or is there an international standard "order of authors" applicable to all areas?


Toni Arndt
Biomechanics Laboratory
Karolinska Institute
Dept. Orthopaedic Surgery K54
Huddinge University Hospital
14186 Huddinge

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