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Deciding First Author

  1. Jan 23, 2012 #1
    Hello all,

    I am an undergraduate studying physics and have recently began working with a professor on two papers we hope to publish. He has said he would "be happy to make [me] first author on both". I am very new to the social dynamics of how student/professor/professional academia should work. When I read this my eyes goggled, I feel like this is an incredible offer for him to make. The purpose of this post is to ask:

    Should I "thankfully decline", i.e. am I expected to appreciate the offer but say it would be best for him to be first author.
    If I say I would very much enjoy to be denoted first author how do I express gratitude; a simple thank you or more appreciative such as"thank you for the honor."
    Lastly, is this not actually that large of a deal, but rather a simple formality I don't yet know.

    Thank you for any input you are able to give
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 23, 2012 #2


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    Don't make a big deal out of it. Your advisor/professor gets to decide who is first, and who gets included in the paper. Just be grateful, and produce good work. Let everything else take care of itself.

  4. Jan 23, 2012 #3


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    It might be one of those double-edged swords. It likely means that you'll get to do the majority of the work.
  5. Jan 23, 2012 #4
    I sent him an email giving thanks, implying I am happy and grateful to be first author. Luckily I would enjoy doing most of the work :)
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