Lead author

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In academic publishing, the lead author, or first author, is the first named author of a publication such as a research article or audit.

Academic authorship standards vary widely across disciplines. In many academic subjects, including the natural sciences, computer science and electrical engineering, the lead author of a research article is typically the person who carried out the research and wrote and edited the paper. The list of trailing co-authors reflects, typically, diminishing contributions to the work reported in the manuscript. Sometimes, journals require statements detailing each author's contributions to be included in each publication.[1] In other disciplines (such as mathematics) however, authors are typically listed alphabetically rather than by contribution.[2][3]

The proportion of multi-author papers has increased in recent decades, reflecting increasingly complex multi-investigator research projects,[4] as well as the "publish or perish" culture of academic performance evaluation.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Editorial: What did you do? Nature Physics now requires a statement of authors' contributions to a paper", Nature Physics, 5: 369, 2009, doi:10.1038/nphys1305.
  2. ^ 2004 Statement on The Culture of Research and Scholarship in Mathematics: Joint Research and Its Publication (PDF), American Mathematical Society, 2004.
  3. ^ Andrew Appel (January 1992). "Is POPL Mathematics or Science?" (PDF).
  4. ^ Weltzin, J. F.; Belote, R. T.; Thomas, L. M.; Keller, J. K.; Engel, C. E. (2006), "Authorship in ecology: attribution, accountability, and responsibility", Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 4: 435–441, doi:10.1890/1540-9295(2006)4[435:AIEAAA]2.0.CO;2, JSTOR 3868870