What are the expectations for authorship when using a forum for research help?

In summary, a first year PhD student asked about the forum's policy on crediting contributors in published work. It was determined that general knowledge, such as Fourier analysis, does not need to be cited in a paper unless it is a new or unusual application. The author of the forum post would not automatically be named on the publication, but if they made significant contributions to the design, execution, data collection, and manuscript preparation, they may be considered for co-authorship. It is recommended to check the submission guidelines of major journals and to consult with one's supervisor if unsure about authorship.
  • #1
Johnny Davens
7
0
Hi there,

I'm a first year PhD student and was going to ask the forum for some advice on some maths (specifically Fourier) that will be used in my work. However, I wanted to know what the forum/general policy is on what happens should this work ever be published. Would a forum contributor be credited on the paper or only if the contribution is novel (ie. more than help limited to applying century old maths)?

Thanks!
 
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  • #2
Fourier analysis would fall under general knowledge anyway so of you are using it, you don't need to cite it in a paper. The exception would be if it is some odd or unusual or new application of Fourier analysis. Besides, if you try to cite a message board in a paper it will get laughed right out of the editor's office.
 
  • #3
That's what I was assuming. I was just asking in case the help goes further than that of just helping with the maths, as I'm not sure how simple what I'm working on is at the moment.

It's not that the message itself would be cited, it's whether the author would be named on the publication.
 
  • #4
If all said individual did was help you understand Fourier transforms more, then they certainly wouldn't warrant authorship of any sort. If they helped collect the data in some way and were fundamental in analyzing the data and made contributions to the actual paper, then perhaps you may need to consider something like that. Of course if that is the case, you may want to get to know them more than just by a forum handle, as the AIP probably doesn't want authors listed by Physics Forum name. :wink:
 
  • #5
Check out the submission guidelines for the major journals in your field. Most of them will likely contain a statement with respect to the expected contributions of authors. Generally speaking, all authors should have major involvement in the study's design, it's execution, data collection and interpretation, and manuscruipt preparation.

Assisting with a single component of this process is not generally accepted to warrant authorship. Thus, as a general rule, things like casual discussions, help debugging code, help in solving specifc math problems, minor editing etc. do not warrant co-authorship.

If you find someone is participating at a much greater level than expected (I wouldn't really anticipate for forum posts, but it's not unlikely that a colleague might get deeply involved in a project, or that you might make some kind of connection that carries over off-line), then you need to have a discussion about authorship. Sooner is better.

And when in doubt, ask your supervisor.
 

1. How can I use forums for research help?

Forums can be a great resource for research help. You can post your questions and receive responses from other members who may have expertise in the subject matter. Additionally, you can search through past threads to see if your question has already been answered. Many forums also have sub-categories dedicated to specific topics, making it easier to find relevant information.

2. Are forums a reliable source of information for research?

Forums can be a valuable source of information, but it's important to remember that the information is coming from other members and may not always be accurate. It's always a good idea to fact-check information found on forums and to verify the credibility of the source before using it in your research.

3. How do I ensure that the information I receive from a forum is credible?

To ensure that the information you receive from a forum is credible, it's important to check the source of the information and the credentials of the member providing it. Look for members who have a history of providing accurate and reliable information, and verify any sources they cite. It's also a good idea to cross-reference the information with other sources to confirm its accuracy.

4. Are there any rules or guidelines I should follow when using forums for research?

Most forums have rules and guidelines that members are expected to follow. These may include rules about posting, language, and respectful communication. It's important to familiarize yourself with the rules of the forum you are using and to adhere to them to ensure a positive experience for yourself and others.

5. Can forums be used for primary research?

Forums can be a valuable tool for primary research, but it's important to keep in mind that the information you receive may not always be representative of the larger population. Forums tend to attract a specific group of people, so the information you gather may not be as diverse as conducting a formal study. However, forums can be a great starting point for gathering insights and ideas for further research.

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