Authorship is the coin of scholarship — and some researchers are minting plenty. We searched Scopus for authors who had printed more than 72 papers (the same of one paper every 5 days) in any one calendar yr between 2000 and 2016, a decide that many would remember implausibly prolific1. We chanced on more than 9,000 folk, and made every effort to count only ‘rotund papers’ — articles, conference papers, substantive comments and opinions — no longer editorials, letters to the editor and the esteem. We hoped that this is able to maybe maybe be a precious narrate in determining what scientific authorship technique.
We deserve to be clear: we don’t gain any evidence that these authors are doing the relaxation immoral. Some scientists who are people of big consortia would possibly maybe maybe maybe meet the criteria for authorship on a actually excessive quantity of papers. Our findings imply that some fields or research teams gain operationalized their very maintain definitions of what authorship technique.
The overwhelming majority of hyperprolific authors (7,888 creator records, 86%) printed in physics. In excessive-vitality and particle physics, projects are achieved by big international teams that will maybe maybe gain upwards of 1,000 people. All persons are listed as authors as a imprint of membership of the workers, no longer for writing or revising the papers. We attributable to this truth excluded authors in physics.
Who gets credit rating? Judge about digs into the thorny quiz of authorship
Of what remained, 909 creator records had been Chinese or Korean names. On fable of Scopus disambiguates Chinese and Korean names imperfectly, these would possibly maybe maybe also just gain wrongly mixed distinct folk. For 2016 (when disambiguation had improved for Chinese and Korean names), as a minimal 12, and maybe more than 20, authors essentially based mostly in China had been hyperprolific, the finest amount from any nation that yr. We deem that this is able to maybe maybe maybe also very well be associated to Chinese insurance policies that reward e-newsletter with cash or to imaginable corruption2,3.
Due to the disambiguation complications, we excluded these names from additional evaluation, besides as community names and cases in which we chanced on errors (equivalent to journalistic news items misclassified as rotund articles), reproduction entries, or conference papers misassigned to an organizer.
This left 265 authors (discover Supplementary Recordsdata). The assortment of hyperprolific authors (after our exclusions) grew about 20-fold between 2001 and 2014, and then levelled off (discover ‘Hyperprolific authors proliferate’). Over the the same duration, the whole assortment of authors increased by 2.5-fold.
We e-mailed all 265 authors inquiring for their insights about how they reached this extremely productive class. The 81 replies are offered within the Supplementary Recordsdata. Frequent subject issues had been: exhausting work; luxuriate in of research; mentorship of very many younger researchers; management of a research workers, and even of many teams; intensive collaboration; engaged on more than one research areas or in core services; availability of appropriate intensive sources and records; culmination of a big venture; personal values equivalent to generosity and sharing; experiences growing up; and snoozing only a few hours per day.
About half of the hyperprolific authors had been in scientific and existence sciences (treatment n =101, health sciences n =11, mind n =17, biology n =6, infectious ailments n =3). After we excluded conference papers, almost two-thirds belonged to scientific and existence sciences (86/131). Amongst the 265, 154 authors produced more than the same of one paper every 5 days for 2 or more calendar years; 69 did so for 4 or more calendar years. Papers with 10–100 authors are frequent in these CVs, especially in scientific and existence sciences, however papers with the loads of of authors viewed in particle physics are uncommon.
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Materials scientist Akihisa Inoue, aged president of Tohoku University in Japan and a member of more than one prestigious academies, holds the document. He met our definition of being hyperprolific for 12 calendar years between 2000 and 2016. Since 1976, his title appears to be like on 2,566 rotund papers listed in Scopus. He has furthermore retracted seven papers chanced on to be self-duplications of previously printed work4. We sought for news articles in Google detailing retractions for the next 20 most hyperprolific authors and chanced on only one other creator (Jeroen Bax) to gain one retracted paper.
The 265 hyperprolific authors worked in 37 nations, with the ultimate amount within the United States (n =50), adopted by Germany (n =28) and Japan (n =27). The proportion from the United States (19%) is roughly same to its portion of printed science. Germany and Japan are over-represented. There had been disproportionally more hyperprolific authors in Malaysia (n =13) and Saudi Arabia (n =7), nations both identified to incentivize e-newsletter with cash rewards5.
Hyperprolific authors furthermore tended to cluster in explicit establishments, once in some time as section of a frequent see. As an illustration, Erasmus University Rotterdam within the Netherlands had 9 hyperprolific authors, more than any other institution. Seven of them co-authored mostly papers associated to the Rotterdam see, a almost 30-yr-dilapidated epidemiological venture, or its successor Skills R see, which gain adopted more than one health parameters in thousands of older adults and yielded thousands of publications. 5 hyperprolific investigators from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, furthermore once in some time co-authored papers associated to cohort experiences. Eleven hyperprolific authors across varied establishments had been on one big cohort see, the European Prospective Investigation on Cancer and Nutrition; other big epidemiological experiences had been furthermore represented. Hyperprolific authors had been furthermore concentrated in cardiology and crystallography.
These biological and scientific disciplines with many hyperprolific authors prove varied patterns from those chanced on in particle and excessive-vitality physics. Papers with different to thousands of authors are the norm across a community of many thousands of scientists working in projects essentially based mostly at CERN, Europe’s particle-physics laboratory come Geneva, Switzerland. In crystallography, papers tend to gain few co-authors. In epidemiology and cardiology, long lists of authors seem only in relationship to particular research teams that appear to gain a custom of intensive authorship lists.
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This raises the quiz of what authorship entails. The US Nationwide Institutes of Health, for instance, has guidelines on the activities that qualify: actively supervising, designing and doing experiments, and records acquisition and evaluation out of doorways “very frequent” work plus drafting the manuscript. Gathering funds or far away mentorship assemble no longer qualify. Most of the 6,000 authors in a up-to-the-minute take into fable across many geographical regions and disciplines felt that drafting a paper, deciphering results and analysing records must composed qualify for authorship, however attitudes varied by discipline and discipline6.
Presumably essentially the most once in some time established requirements for authorship are the Vancouver requirements established by the World Committee of Clinical Journal Editors in 1988. These specify that authors must assemble all of four issues to qualify: play a section in designing or conducting experiments or processing results; assist to write or revise the manuscript; approve the broadcast version; and utilize accountability for the article’s contents.
The World Committee of Clinical Journal Editors does no longer count supervision, mentoring or obtaining funding as ample for authorship. We did discover that some authors perceived to became hyperprolific on becoming rotund professors, department chairs or both. It is no longer uncommon and more than seemingly anticipated for scientists who steal management roles in big centres to tempo up their productivity. As an illustration, scientific cardiologists publish more papers after they steal director roles (despite heavy scientific and administrative responsibilities). Infrequently, the acceleration is shapely: on the height of their productivity, some cardiologists publish 10 to 80 instances more papers in one yr compared with their moderate annual productivity after they had been 35–42 years dilapidated. There became once furthermore once in some time a pointy lower after passing the chair to a successor. One other see favorite identical patterns two a long time ago7.
One unexpected end result became once that some hyperprolific authors positioned many publications in a single journal. Prominent on this regard had been Acta Crystallographica Half E: Structure Reports Online (relaunched in 2014 as Half E: Crystallographic Communications, with temporary structural records experiences now printed in IuCrData) and Zeitschrift für Kristallographie New Crystal Constructions. Three authors gain every printed more than 600 articles within the aged (Hoong-Kun Relaxing, Seik Weng Ng and Edward Tiekink); three authors gain every printed more than 400 papers within the latter (Karl Peters, Eva Maria Peters and Edward Tiekink). Three other authors (Anne Marie Api, Charlene Letizia, Sneha Bhatia) printed many papers in single supplement complications with Meals and Chemistry Toxicology desirous about opinions of scent materials.
Journals listed in Scopus are once in some time regarded as to be nice journals. The citation affect of hyperprolific authors became once once in some time excessive, however there became once big variability: with a median of 19,805 citations per creator (range: 380 to 200,439). The median assortment of rotund papers per hyperprolific creator in 2000–2016 became once 677; across all hyperprolific authors, final creator positions accounted for 42.5%, first creator positions for 7.1%, and single authorships for 1.4%. Across the years, the median percentage of papers with center creator positions (that is, no longer a single, first or final creator) became once 51%, however varied from 2.1% to 98.5% for individual authors.
Our work to name hyperprolific authors is admittedly ugly. It is basically intended to elevate the increased quiz of what authorship entails. Whether or no longer and the perfect design authorship is justified unavoidably varies for every creator and every paper, and norms fluctuate by discipline. It is seemingly that after in some time authorship will seemingly be gamed, secured thru coercion or offered as a favour. We would no longer assess these patterns in our records. We did no longer sign contributorship statements8, that are no longer archived in Scopus. On the opposite hand, even contributorship statements will seemingly be gamed and can just no longer be steady.
Extra work is required to explore solutions to only normalize these records and what is the optimal degree of normalization: for instance, adjusting for wide discipline, moderately slim discipline and/or highly particular research workers.
What authors issue
To larger understand authorship norms, we e-mailed a take into fable to the 81 hyperprolific authors of 2016 (discover Supplementary Recordsdata). We asked whether or not they fulfilled all four Vancouver requirements. Of the 27 who achieved the take into fable, most stated they didn’t (discover ‘Judge about’). Practically the whole responders had been from US and European establishments. The single two responders from in other locations acknowledged that they failed Vancouver requirements in most of their papers. It is seemingly that the take into fable underestimates the percentage no longer meeting Vancouver requirements.
One-third of the 81 authors identified as hyperprolific in 2016 answered when asked how once in some time they met every of 4 requirements established for authorship of scientific experiences. Of the 27 responders, 19 admitted they’d no longer met as a minimal 1 criterion more than 25% of the time. Eleven wrote that they’d no longer met two or more requirements upwards of 25% of the time.
• Righteous contributions to the knowing or form of the work; or the acquisition, evaluation or interpretation of the records for the work (9 of 27 met this criterion in lower than 75% of their papers).
• Drafting the work or revising it severely for important intellectual suppose (9 of 27 met this criterion in lower than 75% of their papers).
• Last approval of the version to be printed (3 out of 27 met this criterion in lower than 75% of their papers).
• Settlement to be accountable for all aspects of the work (14 out of 27 met this criterion in lower than 75% of their papers).
No longer all authors had authorized the final versions of their very maintain papers, however all regarded as approval of the final version wanted for authorship. Fifty-9 per cent (16 of 27) stated that they’d contributed more than any other listed creator for 25 or more of the papers they authored in 2016.
Judge about review: Nervous from the commence up
Responses to the quiz “What, on your maintain words, assemble you watched wants to be required for authorship?” once in some time mirrored a requirement for “necessary contributions”, however furthermore dissatisfaction with how authorship became once assessed. One scientist stated, “I in my notion don’t count them as ‘my papers’ and don’t gain them on my CV as such, as there is a distinction between being a ‘named creator’ versus a ‘consortium member’ authorship.” One other seen that authorship became once once in some time awarded for seniority, and one other that better distinctions had been a must-gain. “I judge there wants to be ranges of authorship — and no longer those implied by show!” This would possibly well be difficult to tune how innovations in assigning credit rating, equivalent to records citation or formal creator contribution taxonomies, would possibly maybe maybe maybe alter authorship conventions. Authorship norms can range within every discipline and even within every workers. As an illustration, some teams in epidemiology and cardiology curiously offer authorship more generously; others stick to stricter (and maybe more appropriate) authorship requirements. For a identical task and contribution, one cohort see would possibly maybe maybe maybe credit rating 20 authors, one other would possibly maybe maybe maybe give credit rating only to three other folks or none. As an illustration, genome-wide experiences most continuously encompass many dozens of authors. As a dramatic counter-instance, one most modern e-newsletter of a genome-wide see had only one creator9, and curiously that researcher did the the same amount of labor for which more than seemingly dozens would salvage authorship credit rating in identical papers spearheaded by varied teams. Some evidence means that the expand within the frequent assortment of authors per paper does no longer replicate so worthy the safe wants of workers science as the tension to ‘publish or perish’10.
Widely former citation and affect metrics wants to be adjusted accordingly. For occasion, if in conjunction with more authors diminished the credit rating every creator obtained, unwarranted multi-authorship would possibly maybe maybe maybe high-tail down. We chanced on that the 30 hyperprolific authors who perceived to advantage essentially the most from co-authorship numbered 6 cardiologists and 24 epidemiologists (in conjunction with those engaged on population genetics experiences). (For these scientists, the ratio of their Hirsch H index to their co-authorship-adjusted Schreiber Hm index became once larger; discover Supplementary Recordsdata.)
Overall, hyperprolific authors would possibly maybe maybe maybe encompass a few of essentially the most full of life and effective scientists. On the different hand, such modes of publishing would possibly maybe maybe maybe furthermore replicate idiosyncratic discipline norms, to divulge the least. Loose definitions of authorship, and an dejected tendency to lower assessments to counting papers, muddy how credit rating is assigned. One composed wants to sign the whole publishing output of every and every scientist, benchmarked against norms for their discipline. And naturally, there is no change for learning the papers and making an strive to achieve what the authors gain achieved.