Thursday, January 12, 2006

Authorship Disclosure

Due to the whole stem cell scandal, both Science and Nature are considering changes in the mechanisms of publishing scientific results . One "reform" is authorship disclosure. From an article in yesterday's NY Times:

One change Science is considering is to require a statement from each author describing his or her contribution to an article. These statements would be published, probably online, Dr. Kennedy [editor of Science] said.

And it's about time. This idea that the actual contributions of authors be disclosed has been bouncing around for a while. There are too many authors whose sole contribution was the donation of an antibody, DNA plasmid, or other PREVIOUSLY published reagent.

Ben Lewin, the former publisher of Cell had this to say:
If this proposal took hold, it wouldn't be a bad thing since you would have a better sense of people's contributions.
For more on the stem cell affair, link to the latest articles in Science and Nature ... and a nice time line of all the events.

[Update 1/14/06]

There is nice discussion on ethical behavior in the scientific community on the Scientific American (SciAm) blog. (Thanks Gaw3)