David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Medical Ethics 39 (8):515-516 (2013)
Anderson and Dyck claim that the current trend of almost exclusively using citation-based evaluative metrics to assess the research output of scholars is unsound. I agree with them in this, but I feel that, for practical reasons, this system will not disappear in the near future, so we must concentrate on making it fairer. Both commentators doubt whether numerically expressing each contributor's relative contribution is feasible. I admit that an important precondition for this task is the possibility of an informed, democratic debate among equals about the relative contribution of each contributor to the article. Mechanisms should be established to protect vulnerable researchers in the academic field in the same way as safeguards exist today to protect vulnerable research participants. Theoretically, however, I think that the fair allocation of authorship credit is possible, and much of this task is already being performed routinely when contributors determine the order of their names in the byline, being well aware of the widespread assumption that this order mostly mirrors the order of their relative contributions. All they would have to do as an additional task is to express this order in numbers. If they cannot reach a consensus, they could always choose not to express their relative contribution in numbers, in which case the presumption would be that they contributed equally. My proposal could, at best, make the system fairer and, at worst, not reduce the options that evaluators already have
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References found in this work BETA
M. S. Anderson (2013). Commentary on 'Honorary Authorship Epidemic in Scholarly Publications? How the Current Use of Citation-Based Evaluative Metrics Make (Pseudo)Honorary Authors From Honest Contributors of Every Multiauthor Article.'. Journal of Medical Ethics 39 (8):513-513.
Tom L. Beauchamp (2008). The Belmont Report. In Ezekiel J. Emanuel (ed.), The Oxford Textbook of Clinical Research Ethics. Oxford University Press 149--55.
M. J. Dyck (2013). Misused Honorary Authorship is No Excuse for Quantifying the Unquantifiable. Journal of Medical Ethics 39 (8):514-514.
T. Faunce (2004). Supporting Whistleblowers in Academic Medicine: Training and Respecting the Courage of Professional Conscience. Journal of Medical Ethics 30 (1):40.
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