I am a co-author on an academic paper in the social sciences that has a total of six authors. One author (I'll call him "Dave") and I have done the vast bulk of the writing and revising of the manuscript. This is agreed upon by all, as is the fact that Dave should be first author. The question is, how can we best reflect my contribution in the order of authors? The two common possibilities are second or last authorship, e.g.:
- Dave, Me, W, X, Y, Z, "Title." [This signifies my second authorship, but doesn't really distinguish me from anyone else].
- Dave, W, X, Y, Z, Me, "Title." [This distinguishes me, but my impression is that last author is often interpreted as a ceremonial role for a PI, and can actually imply that the person didn't contribute anything substantive at all].
I normally don't like to nit-pick about this kind of stuff, and honestly feel a bit silly even asking the question. Consultations with colleagues and Dr. Wiki
haven't helped. But this is my first multiply co-authored paper, it will be placed in a very high-profile journal, and I want people to recognize that the ideas and analysis are mine and Dave's. My specific questions:
- Would second or last authorship better reflect the fact that Dave and I are the two primary authors of the article?
- We already specify the extent of my and Dave's roles in the authorship statement, but does anybody actually read these?