Hope4Grad

7+ Year Member
Jan 19, 2011
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Psychologist
For those who did research as part of a clinical psychology postdoctoral fellowship...
Did your lab utilize authorship contracts before embarking on a project? I have been given a paper that was rejected from a journal with the instructions to tear it apart and rewrite as I see fit. Would it be weird to ask for an authorship contract? Or should I just trust that since I'm a postdoc I don't need to ask for this? My postdoc is at the VA, if that makes any difference.
 

MamaPhD

Psychologist, Academic Medical Center
7+ Year Member
Aug 2, 2010
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Psychologist
A nice habit I learned as a postdoc was to send out a synopsis or draft abstract (no more than half page) of a new paper with a working title and author list to all co-authors. This was a good opportunity to get everyone on board, solicit feedback, and get some advice about which journals to submit to. It wasn't a "contract" but it was understood that people were making a commitment to the paper.
 
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Justanothergrad

Counseling Psychologist
5+ Year Member
Mar 2, 2013
1,751
1,521
I've never had a contract for authorship. But, I've always discussed and agreed upon authorship order before doing any writing n a manuscript.
Always this.

Its better to discuss it up front (even when uncomfortable) than it is to find out folks were expecting something different. If you're paranoid, you could do it over e-mail although my belief is that if I don't like you/trust you enough to take you at your word on authorship, I'm not super interested in researching with you.
 
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Therapist4Chnge

Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Oct 7, 2006
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The Beach
Status
Psychologist
A nice habit I learned as a postdoc was to send out a synopsis or draft abstract (no more than half page) of a new paper with a working title and author list to all co-authors. This was a good opportunity to get everyone on board, solicit feedback, and get some advice about which journals to submit to. It wasn't a "contract" but it was understood that people were making a commitment to the paper.
I've done this for almost all of my multi-site collaborative work and it really helps keep everyone on the same page. I'm definitely adopting it for my next local collaboration. I usually try and keep an email chain for 2-4 author papers, but it's less efficient.
 

Ollie123

10+ Year Member
Feb 19, 2007
4,835
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Psychology Student
Have never done one of these (or frankly even heard of it). Personally, I would find it overkill among colleagues - the last thing any of us wants is more needless bureaucracy and paperwork. I'd smile and go along with it if someone asked, but it would strike me as odd. Of course, I've also generally had good working relationships with folks I publish with. We discuss over email what we'll do and go from there. Of course, 95% of the time that means "First author does everything and then circulates to the various other people involved in the broader project for editing/feedback."
 

Pragma

Neuropsychologist
7+ Year Member
Dec 29, 2011
3,306
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Psychologist
It really depends on the lab/situation. I think it is helpful to discuss it up front for the people putting in key effort. But some labs (that tend to be inclusive and have multiple collaborators) will just have 1-2 primary people write the paper, then add on other collaborators who can take a look at it prior to submission. Authors 1-2 do the bulk of it. I think that is the reality in a lot of AMC empires/fiefs. But in some ways it makes sense - some of those collaborators contribute in other ways (recruitment, consultation for specific techniques, etc).

I've done it where it's been discussed up front, but a lot of times we determine order on the back end depending on how much everyone actually contributes.
 

Kadhir

2+ Year Member
Nov 13, 2015
218
158
Status
Psychology Student
I'm in a (primarily) research post doc at a VA as well and working on a large project with multiple sites and collaborators. Authorship has never been discussed thus far but I think it's generally recognized that order will be determined throughout the course of the process. All the players are identified from the outset though. We are also in the habit of giving RAs first authorship and mentoring them through it, which I rather enjoy.
 
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