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Enlist Multiple Authors for a Research Paper?

  1. May 3, 2008 #1
    I have an idea for a research paper. Given sufficient free time, I'm fully capable of writing this paper by myself. For some reason most papers seem to have multiple authors. Are there any good reasons why I should attempt to enlist others to make contributions to this paper?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 3, 2008 #2


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    What does your advisor say?
  4. May 3, 2008 #3
    I don't have an advisor. I'm not in school.
  5. May 3, 2008 #4
    Uh... since you don't sound like an academic, it will probably be an uphill struggle to get published in the first place. In that case, getting credible academics to sign on to your paper as co-authors would probably make that substantially easier, and mean that people will pay more attention to it when it finally is.

    Why academics write papers with multiple authors I think mostly is due to other factors, like how it's easier and often more productive to do science as part of a team.
  6. May 5, 2008 #5

    Andy Resnick

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    An author of a paper is presumed to have made a substantial contribution to the contents of the paper. If you wrote the paper yourself no reputable person will, in good conscience, agree to have their name put on the paper.

    Some people are of the opinion that multiple authorship means that the story you put forth is inherently more believable, because the authors can 'check each others work'. I'm not sure I buy into that- there are lots of classic single-author papers out there.
  7. May 5, 2008 #6

    Vanadium 50

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    Usually the reason you see multiple authors is that different people brought different contributions to the paper. One person might design an experiment, a second run it, and a third analyzed the data. Sometimes you'll see a theorist enlist a coauthor to perform a calculation or part of a calculation that he's an expert on. And so on.

    I don't think getting coauthors for the sake of coauthors is right, and as Andy says, reputable people won't sign on anyway. I think there is some utility in understanding the publication process, though.
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