kheru2006 (kheru2006) wrote,

Sharing publication glory

QUALITY REIGNS SUPREME: A PhD student wrote a research paper and sent it for publication in an international journal.

The work was accepted. She gleefully told her supervisor that "their" work had been accepted. She expected joy and happiness on the face of her supervisor. Instead she sensed that her boss was not happy at all.

"Please remove my name from the paper," he told her in no uncertain terms. The PhD student wanted to give her supervisor a pleasant surprise. Instead she was rebuffed.

Not all supervisors want to publish works with their students. On their own they can come up with at least five papers a year in respected journals. They need not "tag" along with their students.

If the students do want to include their supervisors as authors they should at least show the draft to them just in case they have any input or comments. They want a say in how the paper should be written. Their sense of fair play and integrity demands that they do not "tumpang glamour".

We know of supervisors who forthrightly tell their students not to include their names in their papers because they have not made meaningful or significant contributions to the work.

For most practitioners of Science, they have certain ground rules to follow. One of them is on the question of authorship on papers.

Barbara J. Culliton, in a paper entitled The Ideal Scientists Described, published in a 1990 issue of Science, opined that the ideal scientist is listed as an author of a paper only if he or she actually did some of the work.

The guidelines describe authorship as a privilege that belongs only to those who make a significant contribution to the conceptualisation, design, execution and/or interpretation of research study.

In their eagerness to play the game of "publish or perish" some postgraduates overlook the sensitivities of human feelings. Those who have reached the pinnacle of success in their research do not want to be dragged down by papers which were later found to be flawed or the data fraudulent.

In scientific parlance, it was "painting the mice". They would rather have one truly good paper rather than several which were hastily churned out just to meet the required key performance indicator. To top researchers, quality reigns supreme.

Koh Aik Khoon New Straits Times Learning Curve 03 February 2013
Tags: writings

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