In a blog published last month in Naturejobs, PhD student Andy Kay offers five pieces of advice, based on his own experiences, to avoid potential authorship issues with collaborators:
- Carefully select collaborators — discuss potential options with colleagues and contacts to help identify and avoid individuals with conflicting work styles.
- Agree on contributions and authorships early on — discuss how the workload will be split; ensure it is fairly distributed and that everyone understands their responsibilities.
- Save all conversations — if a collaborator is not fulfilling their responsibilities, remind them about the earlier agreement on contributions and authorships, and offer to take on more of the work in return for more recognition. Providing a record of email exchanges, agreements and details of what work was planned and completed can support a claim for more recognition.
- Seek advice from a figure of authority — if the relationship with a collaborator breaks down, advice or mediation from a third party can be valuable.
- Stay positive — the author concludes that collaboration is an integral part of modern scientific research and should be embraced.
For a successful working relationship, Andy recommends considering these five steps before initiating your next collaboration.