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Publications and Co-Author vs Second Author

  1. Jul 27, 2017 #1


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    Gold Member

    Hi PF!

    I am about to submit a publication, but as of now I think I am listed as second author (the only authors on this paper are my adviser and me). Is there a substantial difference between second author vs. co-author?

    Also, my adviser wrote the majority of the manuscript, though I wrote some and contributed to some analytical results that were missing. We together had a lot of conversations where we both helped the other. I wrote all the numerical code without help, I wrote all code for data processing (image processed data), and I conducted all experiments. Without me, there would not be any data. Processing this data was incredibly time-consuming and very complex, requiring strong math background.

    Given this, is it wrong for me to request co-author here?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 27, 2017 #2


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    2016 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    If this makes a difference in your field, it would be interesting to know the field.
  4. Jul 28, 2017 #3


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    Mechanical Engineering. We're submitting to JFM.
  5. Jul 31, 2017 #4


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    Many journals allow inclusion of a section entitled "author contributions" which details each author's roles in conceiving the research, performing the experiments, analyzing the data, and writing the manuscript (see http://blogs.nature.com/nautilus/2007/11/post_12.html for examples). It could be helpful to include such a statement to ensure you get proper credit for your work. Based on what you said, I think you would probably be justified in asking your advisor for co-first authorship, though the final decision is up to him and you should probably respect that decision.

    (note: I am not so familiar with the field of engineering. I mainly work in biology where first author is most prestigious for students and postdocs and last/corresponding author is more prestigious for senior researchers)
  6. Jul 31, 2017 #5


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    Stupid question: What's the difference (in print appearance) between "second author" and "co-author"?
  7. Aug 1, 2017 #6


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    Thanks for your response Ygggdrasil. jtbell, that's not a stupid question at all, and now that you mention it, there isn't one.
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