Recognizing the Diversity of Contributions: A Case Study for Framing Attribution and Acknowledgement for Scientific Data

Authors : Chung-Yi Hou, Matthew Mayernik

As scientific data volumes, format types, and sources increase rapidly with the invention and improvement of scientific capabilities, the resulting datasets are becoming more complex to manage as well.

One of the significant management challenges is pulling apart the individual contributions of specific people and organizations within large, complex projects.

This is important for two aspects:1) assigning responsibility and accountability for scientific work, and 2) giving professional credit to individuals (e.g. hiring, promotion, and tenure) who work within such large projects.

This paper aims to review the extant practice of data attribution and how it may be improved. Through a case study of creating a detailed attribution record for a climate model dataset, the paper evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of the current data attribution method and proposes an alternative attribution framework accordingly.

The paper concludes by demonstrating that, analogous to acknowledging the different roles and responsibilities shown in movie credits, the methodology developed in the study could be used in general to identify and map out the relationships among the organizations and individuals who had contributed to a dataset.

As a result, the framework could be applied to create data attribution for other dataset types beyond climate model datasets.

URL : Recognizing the Diversity of Contributions: A Case Study for Framing Attribution and Acknowledgement for Scientific Data


The Authorship Dilemma: Alphabetical or Contribution?

Authors : Margareta Ackerman, Simina Brânzei

Scientific communities have adopted different conventions for ordering authors on publications.

Are these choices inconsequential, or do they have significant influence on individual authors, the quality of the projects completed, and research communities at large? What are the trade-offs of using one convention over another?

In order to investigate these questions, we formulate a basic two-player game theoretic model, which already illustrates interesting phenomena that can occur in more realistic settings.

We find that alphabetical ordering can improve research quality, while contribution-based ordering leads to a denser collaboration network and a greater number of publications.

Contrary to the assumption that free riding is a weakness of the alphabetical ordering scheme, this phenomenon can occur under any contribution scheme, and the worst case occurs under contribution-based ordering.

Finally, we show how authors working on multiple projects can cooperate to attain optimal research quality and eliminate free riding given either contribution scheme.


Linking Behavior in the PER Coauthorship Network

Authors : Katharine A. Anderson, Matthew Crespi, Eleanor C. Sayre

There is considerable long-term interest in understanding the dynamics of collaboration networks, and how these networks form and evolve over time. Most of the work done on the dynamics of social networks focuses on well-established communities.

Work examining emerging social networks is rarer, simply because data is difficult to obtain in real time. In this paper, we use thirty years of data from an emerging scientific community to look at that crucial early stage in the development of a social network.

We show that when the field is very young, islands of individual researchers labored in relative isolation, and the co authorship network is disconnected. Thirty years later, rather than a cluster of individuals, we find a true collaborative community, bound together by a robust collaboration network.

However, this change did not take place gradually — the network remained a loose assortment of isolated individuals until the mid-2000s, when those smaller parts suddenly knit themselves together into a single whole.

In the rest of this paper, we consider the role of three factors in these observed structural changes: growth, changes in social norms, and the introduction of institutions such as field-specific conferences and journals.

We have data from the very earliest years of the field, and thus are able to observe the introduction of two different institutions: the first field-specific conference, and the first field-specific journals.

We also identify two relevant behavioral shifts: a discrete increase in co authorship coincident with the first conference, and a shift among established authors away from collaborating with outsiders, towards collaborating with each other. The interaction of these factors gives us insight into the formation of collaboration networks more broadly.


Patterns of authors contribution in scientific manuscripts

Authors : Edilson A. Corrêa Jr., Filipi N. Silv, Luciano da F. Costa, Diego R. Amancio

Science is becoming increasingly more interdisciplinary, giving rise to more diversity in the areas of expertise within research labs and groups. This also have brought changes to the role researchers in scientific works. As a consequence, multi-authored scientific papers have now became a norm for high quality research.

Unfortunately, such a phenomenon induces bias to existing metrics employed to evaluate the productivity and success of researchers. While some metrics were adapted to account for the rank of authors in a paper, many journals are now requiring a description of the specific roles of each author in a publication.

Surprisingly, the investigation of the relationship between the rank of authors and their contributions has been limited to a few studies. By analyzing such kind of data, here we show, quantitatively, that the regularity in the authorship contributions decreases with the number of authors in a paper.

Furthermore, we found that the rank of authors and their roles in papers follows three general patterns according to the nature of their contributions, such as writing, data analysis, and the conduction of experiments.

This was accomplished by collecting and analyzing the data retrieved from PLoS ONE and by devising an entropy-based measurement to quantify the effective number of authors in a paper according to their contributions.

The analysis of such patterns confirms that some aspects of the author ranking are in accordance with the expected convention, such as the fact that the first and last authors are more likely to contribute more in a scientific work.

Conversely, such analysis also revealed that authors in the intermediary positions of the rank contribute more in certain specific roles, such as the task of collecting data.

This indicates that the an unbiased evaluation of researchers must take into account the distinct types of scientific contributions.


What Motivates Authors of Scholarly Articles? The Importance of Journal Attributes and Potential Audience on Publication Choice

Authors : Carol Tenopir, Elizabeth Dalton, Allison Fish, Lisa Christian, Misty Jones, MacKenzie Smith

In this article we examine what motivations influence academic authors in selecting a journal in which to publish.

A survey was sent to approximately 15,000 faculty, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers at four large North American research universities with a response rate of 14.4% (n = 2021).

Respondents were asked to rate how eight different journal attributes and five different audiences influence their choice of publication output. Within the sample, the most highly rated attributes are quality and reputation of journal and fit with the scope of the journal; open access is the least important attribute. Researchers at other research-intensive institutions are considered the most important audience, while the general public is the least important.

There are significant differences across subject disciplines and position types. Our findings have implications for understanding the adoption of open access publishing models.

URL : What Motivates Authors of Scholarly Articles? The Importance of Journal Attributes and Potential Audience on Publication Choice

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Men set their own cites high: Gender and self-citation across fields and over time

Authors : Molly M. King, Carl T. Bergstrom, Shelley J. Correll, Jennifer Jacquet, Jevin D. West

How common is self-citation in scholarly publication and does the practice vary by gender? Using novel methods and a dataset of 1.5 million research papers in the scholarly database JSTOR published between 1779-2011, we find that nearly 10% of references are self-citations by a paper’s authors.

We further find that over the years between 1779-2011, men cite their own papers 56% more than women do. In the last two decades of our data, men self-cite 70% more than women. Women are also more than ten percentage points more likely than men to not cite their own previous work at all.

Despite increased representation of women in academia, this gender gap in self-citation rates has remained stable over the last 50 years. We break down self-citation patterns by academic field and number of authors, and comment on potential mechanisms behind these observations.

These findings have important implications for scholarly visibility and likely consequences for academic careers.


Contributorship and division of labor in knowledge production

Scientific authorship has been increasingly complemented with contributorship statements. While such statements are said to ensure more equitable credit and responsibility attribution, they also provide an opportunity to examine the roles and functions that authors play in the construction of knowledge and the relationship between these roles and authorship order.

Drawing on a comprehensive and multidisciplinary dataset of 87,002 documents in which contributorship statements are found, this paper examines the forms that division of labor takes across disciplines, the relationships between various types of contributions, as well as the relationships between the contribution types and various indicators of authors’ seniority.

It shows that scientific work is more highly divided in medical disciplines than in mathematics, physics and disciplines of the social sciences, and that, with the exception of medicine, the writing of the paper is the task most often associated with authorship.

The results suggest a clear distinction between contributions that could be labelled as ‘technical’ and those that could be considered ‘conceptual’: While conceptual tasks are typically associated with authors with higher seniority, technical tasks are more often performed by younger scholars.

Finally, results provide evidence of a u-shaped relationship between extent of contribution and author order: In all disciplines, first and last authors typically contribute to more tasks than middle authors.

The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications of the results for the reward system of science.