Large and equitable authorships

Large collaborative projects are becoming more frequent and dealing with the authorship of hundreds or even thousands of authors can be difficult.

Some scientific studies, such as clinical trials and Big science projects, require collaboration from many different teams of researchers and different types of specialists. This research is being published with very large authorships. An example is the publications by CERN that often have thousands of authors in alphabetical order. Here is a link to a 2021 paper from CERN that has 3078 authors as an example of this type of authorship.

This type of shared authorship model is increasingly found in open science projects and communities where the ethos requires a more equitable authorship that truly reflects all the contributions made. The Turing Way community wants to recognise all contributions and therefore these are recorded carefully in a number of ways. Here is a link to our Chapter on acknowledgements. We use an all contributors bot to record the type of contributions different members make that is shown on our Github Readme.file and we also have contributor profiles at the end of the book, in which each contributor can record their contributions in more detail.

Although The Turing Way is not an academic article, it is a published online book, and therefore we have authorship guidelines. The first author is always The Turing Way Community and then authors are listed in alphabetical order by last name. Authorship is cumulative so authors will always remain authors. Consequently, this model of authorship gives equal recognition as an author to any contribution and therefore in this sense is an authorship of contributors rather than authors.

This is similar to a consortia authorship. This is a collective of authors and all members of the consortium are considered authors and must be listed in the published articles as such. Sometimes this is seen in the journal as a large list of authors or can be shown as the community name, however underneath all of the author names of the community will be visible.

Another recent development in the use of the CRediT taxonomy is the idea of providing a cover page to an article much like seen on film-credits. This recent pre-print by the Living with Machines Project has taken this approach. The authors remark that this model of authorship relies on all authors openly acknowledging the importance of everyone’s contributions. The Living with Machines project is discussed in the personal story about authorship in interdisciplinary projects at the end of this chapter.

The use of ORCID is another way to ensure equitable authorship. ORCID is a persistent digital identifier for researchers. It means that even if a researchers name changes in some way, such as not using exactly the same name on each paper or a change of surname, their publications will still be linked back to them. It guarantees recognition for your contributions.

Find out more information about ORCID in our sub-chapter in the Guide for Communication.