I have a question that I’d like to pose to the very small community of people which read my blog. First, some backstory.
I did some testing a few months ago and the results were interesting enough that one of the senior managers in my company asked me to submit an abstract to an industry conference and try to publish what I’d done and how. Sounded pretty good – I’d read a lot of journal articles before, but had never made any contributions of my own, so I was excited at the opportunity. Since I’m fairly new in this industry, he wanted me to work with this other guy, a chief engineer, and have him as the second author on the paper.
The guy that’s helping me, my alleged co-author, isn’t contributing anything at all. He has no idea as to the work that I did, how I did it, or even what the results are. I’ve tried to explain it to him several times, but he just doesn’t get it. and isn’t really all that interested. Mine is a very specialized field – probably only 500 people in the world work in it. – so it’s not too surprising. I read an article yesterday from the organization my paper will be accepted by, and I quote:
It is unethical to be a co-author of a paper without making any contribution in the paper. In the same way, it is not ethical to add the name of the project manager, financial supporter or department head as co-author unless they have made contributions.
The chief engineer that I was assigned to has been absolutely zero help. No suggestions, no review, nothing. I let him read the abstract and he complained because he didn’t like the word “ubiquitous” since he didn’t understand it. Other than that, I’ve gotten no help at all. Is this a standard sort of thing when it comes to assigning credit for work? Is it common for co-authors to be attached, even though they’ve made no real contributions?
Not to sound like a pre-med gunner type, but I’m also a little uncertain as to how an admissions commitee is going to look at industry research and whether I’m the first author or the only author on a publication. Anyone have some thoughts?