medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Cormack, Margaret Jean wrote:
> It must be recalled that science articles often have MULTIPLE AUTHORS;
> often as many as a dozen, because everyone involved in an experiment
> gets listed as author.

"often as many as a dozen"?  It was back in 1975 that I had to examine the 
resulting printout to find why our Computerised Current Awareness Service 
had coughed - it was because one of the articles had more authors than the 
permitted maximum: 100.  I don't know what the record is now: probably over 
500. These tend to be short papers, say six pages.

> This means that the number of articles you can claim is much greater than 
> in the humanities, but there's a catch as well: It is of great importance 
> to be the PI - Primary Investigator - for an appropriate number of these 
> articles, if you are going to get tenure, promotion, or whatever.

I knew someone who managed to get his name on 50 papers in quite a brief 
period, without being the primary author for any of them!  In some places, 
the Institute Director is always list as first author.  On way around this 
is for the person who actually did the work to be lasted last (one reason 
for not truncating the author list at 100...)

One practice (probably outlawed now) was that when a postgrad left the lab, 
those remaining wrote up the work in his PhD thesis.  A colleague opened a 
journal one day to discover that he had written another paper!

John Briggs

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