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I had a question on whether or not I am the first-author of my research poster. This was for an undergraduate research forum at my state university.

The conference was supposed to be in-person, however, it ended up going online. Anyways, the poster is online for anyone to see. The current author name is listed as follows:

graduate student^1, me^2, and PI^3

However, I've been thinking and I think it should have been me^1, graduate student^2, and PI^3. I need help figuring out whether or not I am actually first author or not.

The graduate student was the one who thought of the study design, did the IRB, did testing, and analysis. I came right as he was about to start subject recruitment so I assisted with subject recruitment, testing, and data analysis. Around halfway through our data-testing/analysis I asked my PI if I could do a poster with the graduate student. My PI said as long as the graduate student is cool with me doing a poster, go right ahead.

I talked to the graduate student, he said yes, so I signed up and started working on the poster. I did everything on the poster. I designed the poster, wrote and organized the entire poster, and (after asking for the graphs that my graduate student had already made) I analyzed the data and results and typed those up as well. The only thing the graduate student did was provide the graphs and check the final poster when I was finished with it.

So my main concerns were:
1. Am I considered the first-author? What does it mean to be the first-author on a poster?
2. Could I get in trouble for saying I am first-author even though online I am listed as second? I have the files and everything so I could "technically" change the order, but I can't change what is online.
 
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seanm028

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The train has already left the station. The time to have had this conversation would have been at some point before you presented the poster online. Going back now and changing the files would be dishonest.
 
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Am I considered the first-author? What does it mean to be the first-author on a poster?

First author seems pretty self-explanatory. It is something that should be negotiated at the beginning of your work so that you don't run into this issue.

Could I get in trouble for saying I am first-author even though online I am listed as second?

Yes. Think about it. If someone looks up your poster, and you are listed second, what will they conclude?

I have the files and everything so I could "technically" change the order, but I can't change what is online.
This is out-right dishonesty. Don't.
 
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The train has already left the station. The time to have had this conversation would have been at some point before you presented the poster online. Going back now and changing the files would be dishonest.

Yea...it already happened so not much I can do. We never had the conversation of author order...but I just put my graduate student as first author. Regardless, the situation already happened. Can't go back.
 
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I'll add that many of us learn this lesson about determining authorship ahead of time the hard way. I did at least.
 
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First author seems pretty self-explanatory. It is something that should be negotiated at the beginning of your work so that you don't run into this issue.



Yes. Think about it. If someone looks up your poster, and you are listed second, what will they conclude?


This is out-right dishonesty. Don't.

Yeah I wasn't going to actually go into my files and change authorship orders. How would that help? Carry around a USB and show adcoms that I am actually first-author?

And you're right. It would look rather fishy regardless.
 
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Unfortunately just typing up a poster doesn’t make you first author.

What determines authorship order in a poster?

For a paper publication it seems more clear but for a poster...is it the person who came up with the study or the person who did the most legwork for the poster?
 

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What determines authorship order in a poster?

For a paper publication it seems more clear but for a poster...is it the person who came up with the study or the person who did the most legwork for the poster?
The graduate student was the one who thought of the study design, did the IRB, did testing, and analysis.
the above statement is the kicker for me. For me, however, first author is whoever is presenting the poster and is discussed before hand.
 
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If it makes you feel any better, adcoms won't really care if you're first or second author on a poster. They're much more interested in the experiences you had while working on your research than the number of pubs/posters.
 
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If it makes you feel any better, adcoms won't really care if you're first or second author on a poster. They're much more interested in the experiences you had while working on your research than the number of pubs/posters.

Agreed. Be ready to talk about the methods and analysis, and results. Illustrate that you understand the scientific process and how your work fits in it. Being able to discuss this intelligently is more impressive than your position in the author list.
 
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Agreed. Be ready to talk about the methods and analysis, and results. Illustrate that you understand the scientific process and how your work fits in it. Being able to discuss this intelligently is more impressive than your position in the author list.

Most definitely. I didn't even really care what position I was in the poster until I saw a previous post discussing it and was wondering if it held any substantial value/made me realize maybe I made a mistake in determining authorship.
 
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