Courtesy Authorship - Case B4
Dr. Jonathan Perry, a tenured professor, used his sabbatical to visit
the laboratory of Dr. Brian Chandler, a widely published and
respected senior scientist. During his stay in Dr. Chandler's lab,
Dr. Perry hoped to learn certain techniques of molecular biology that
he would employ in his own research. To afford Dr. Perry this
opportunity, Dr. Chandler assigned him a leading role in a new
project that the lab was undertaking. After seven months, laboratory
work on the project was completed, and Dr. Perry returned to his own
institution to begin work on a paper to report the final results.
Ultimately, many drafts of the paper were faxed back and forth
between laboratories until Dr. Perry received the penultimate version
from Dr. Chandler's lab. On this version, a new name, I. B. Martin,
Ph.D., appeared among the authors listed. Dr. Perry had never met Dr.
Martin, never worked with him on any technical aspect of the project,
and had never heard his name or ideas mentioned in the laboratory
meetings in which the project was planned or the results discussed.
Dr. Perry called Dr. Chandler and questioned the addition of Dr.
Martin as an author on the manuscript. Dr. Chandler stated that, due
to prior collaborations, it was a longstanding policy to include Dr.
Martin on all publications coming out of Dr. Chandler's laboratory.
Dr. Martin's laboratory had a reciprocal agreement, he added. Dr.
Perry stated that he did not feel that Dr. Martin was a qualified
author on this particular paper since he had not made a significant
contribution to the work being published. Dr. Chandler replied that
Dr. Perry did not have the right to question the policy of a
laboratory in which he had worked as an invited guest. Dr. Perry
maintained his position that Dr. Martin did not belong as an author
on the paper and further stated that if Dr. Chandler insisted on
including Dr. Martin's name, then, as first author, Dr. Perry would
not allow the paper to be submitted. Dr. Chandler responded, "Well,
you can withdraw your name, but the work was done here in my
laboratory and we plan to submit the paper for publication."
- What do you think of the reciprocal agreement between Dr.
Martin's and Dr. Chandler's laboratories? Were Dr. Perry's concerns
- Dr. Perry was a tenured professor at a different institution
from Dr. Chandler's. Under these circumstances it may have been
relatively easy for him to voice his concerns to Dr. Chandler. What
difficulties might a postdoctoral or graduate student in Dr.
Chandler's lab have in handling this situation? How might those
difficulties be overcome?
- The results of this project are significant and provide a novel
insight into the field that could prove beneficial to many
investigators in the area. Therefore, should Dr. Perry compromise
with Dr. Chandler so that the paper can be promptly published?
Which consideration -- authorship or publication -- is more
important in the advancement of science?
- What do you think of Dr. Chandler's statement in the concluding
sentence of the case? Would it be appropriate for Dr. Chandler to
proceed with publishing the paper? What are Dr. Perry's and Dr.
Chandler's rights with respect to the data and the publication of
- Assume that Dr. Martin in fact reviewed and commented on all
drafts of the paper in question. Could this contribution to the
effort be significant enough to merit authorship?