Points for polish

January 11, 2018

The feature “All present and correct?” (30 November 2017), about who deserves authorship credit, seems very one-sided; it does not consider how senior scholars might not be recognised (although I agree that junior scholars are likely more vulnerable to being under-acknowledged).

For instance, it does not discuss the considerable labour that many senior researchers invest in revising manuscripts by junior researchers (especially those with limited English skills who must publish in English) or in revising for publication honours and master’s theses for students who have moved on (yet maintain principal-author credit even if substantial reanalysis or revision is required).

Many senior scholars want to support their students’ publications, but this kind of labour is often underappreciated, and the manuscript would not be publishable without it. And no, I don’t think that this substantive work is just part of the job in educating students; there is difference between an academic exercise and professional writing. The work that turns an OK manuscript into an excellent one is gruelling, and something that often junior scholars are not skilled at.

Kim Noels
Via timeshighereducation.com

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