We have this tentative at a canonical answer to authorship standards:

Compiling ethical standards for coauthorship across academic fields and regions

But it's been inactive since 2014. There are many questions that I think should be marked as duplicate of this but the answers are everything but comprehensive. Can we somehow revive this question? Or merge it with better documented threads like these ones:

What are the minimum contributions required for co-authorship

What does author order indicate?

My proposal would be to:

  • include the above listed questions (an the one pointed out in comments) in the canonical question for reference
  • mark relevant future questions as duplicate of it.

1 Answer 1


My objection to that question (noted in the first comment) and all other similar ones still stands—these types of questions are terrible by design.

  • Firstly, they are by definition out-of-date as soon as they're posted, as we're just copying information from somewhere else. Who has the time to go back and fact-check to see if something's changed?
  • Secondly, they're perpetually incomplete, as there will always be some university that we haven't covered.
  • Thirdly, this is a Q&A site, not an encyclopedia... people don't come here looking for lists of information, they come here to get answers to a specific question that they can't get elsewhere. This information—again, by definition— is available elsewhere; the society websites! Why on Earth would we take it on ourselves to replicate something here? If it happens to be that there isn't a society that defines "ethical standards" for a given field, then who the heck are we to define the standards?

I was unconvinced at the time that this was an effort worth pursuing, and in retrospect it seems that my concerns were not unfounded. If you can convince me I'm wrong, please do so, but as it stands I remain unconvinced that this is worth doing.

  • 1
    A note on the third point: the ethical standards defined by a society might not be followed by the people in the field. Oct 5, 2016 at 4:26
  • "they come here to get answers to a specific question that they can't get elsewhere" Given the number of times the comment "Have you asked your advisor?" or ones like it show up, I'm not sure this is necessarily true.
    – Fomite
    Oct 13, 2016 at 20:35

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