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. In other disciplines (such as mathematics) however, authors are typically listed alphabetically rather than by contribution.
The proportion of multi-author papers has increased in recent decades, reflecting increasingly complex multi-investigator research projects, as well as the "publish or perish" culture of academic performance evaluation.
- "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.
- 2004 Statement on The Culture of Research and Scholarship in Mathematics: Joint Research and Its Publication (PDF), American Mathematical Society, 2004.
- Andrew Appel (January 1992). "Is POPL Mathematics or Science?" (PDF).
- 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