[csaa-forum] collaborative publications

Andrew Murphie andrew.murphie at gmail.com
Mon Sep 1 13:06:38 CST 2014

Hi Jon,

thanks for bringing this up. A facetious answer might be that we all should
just become scientists—it seems increasingly what is wanted. A less
facetious version of the same is exactly what you point to. There are no
well established understandings/conventions for this in the humanities, as
there are in science, all along the line (from research to write up). A
third thing to emphasise (again I'm just repeating what you've already
pointed out) is that we perhaps have to admit that there we have a
different understanding of collaboration in the humanities, because
collaboration is different, as you point out. We also have no standard
frameworks for collaboration. There is no standard model (and I'm involved
in a lot of collaborative work).

My view would be that a forced accounting for collaboration along the lines
of the sciences would be a gigantic mess all around—one indeed forced by
the new forms of accounting we are increasingly subjected to. Genuine
collaboration however is much easier. If there has been collaboration
(beyond, for example, me taking more credit for my PhD supervisee's
work—which I find deeply troubling from a number of angles, as I'm sure
they would, rightly) it is currently labelled as such.

Not much help perhaps but I'm troubled by these new requirements and not
sure that we really can fit them without changing what we do in undesired


all the best, Andrew

On 1 September 2014 13:21, Jon Stratton <J.Stratton at curtin.edu.au> wrote:

>  Hi All,
>     I'm wondering what opinions are on what is enough work to legitimately
> claim joint authorship for an article/chapter.  Increasingly we in
> Humanities are being asked by our universities to publish jointly, either
> with our doctoral students or with our Research Assistants, or indeed with
> each other.  This, we are constantly told, is what happens in the sciences
> and we are enjoined to behave similarly.  I have assumed that this is
> supposed to increase our research output.
> Now, in the sciences, as I understand it, joint publication is relatively
> straightforward.  A senior staff member develops a project on which s/he
> employs one or more RAs or postgrads.  The results are then published under
> all their names with, most likely, the senior staff member having her/his
> name first as lead author.
> In Humanities things are different.  So, how much work by one person, say
> the staff member, constitutes enough of a contribution for her/him to be
> included as an author?  For example, would doing one or more Track Changes
> on an article/chapter be enough?  What about if the idea for the article is
> the staff member's?  Would a first drafting, or redrafting be what is
> required?  What about suggesting the most appropriate journal to send the
> article to, and helping the RA/postgrad through the submission and, maybe,
> the revision process?  Or, perhaps, simply the fact of employing the RA on
> a project where funding has been obtained by the staff member--which might
> equate with being the supervisor for a postgrad submitting an article?  Or,
> what combination of these things?
> Because collaborative work has been so rare in the Humanities there seems
> to be no normative rules for what is the appropriate amount of input.  I am
> wondering how colleagues are dealing with this relatively new situation.
> many thanks,
> Jon
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Andrew Murphie - Associate Professor
School of the Arts and Media,
University of New South Wales,
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Editor - The Fibreculture Journal http://fibreculturejournal.org/>
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