[csaa-forum] collaborative publications

Gemma Blackwood Gemma.Blackwood at cdu.edu.au
Mon Sep 1 16:00:29 CST 2014

Hi Jon and everyone,

Thanks for the provocative question today. I worked as an RA for four academics as a student/casual and I was never invited to collaborate for an article (although I dreamed about it). I never considered it as something that I was automatically entitled to, especially if it was in an area that I saw as having nothing to do with my own research. I'm still not in a position to hire research assistance at this point yet. I think that it often depends upon luck of your work supervisor, and alignment of your research interests with theirs. I wouldn't like to think of using an RA to provide research that drew directly from their own work/study without inviting a collaboration. I think it would be a good area for scholars to research, in case there are cases of exploitation.

A colleague at my Uni (in Science, not Arts/Humanities) suggested once (yes, a little facetiously) that scholars should 'beat the system' and form online syndicates or collectives of 20 people or so where you could write one article, and put twenty author names on it. That way, if each person wrote most of one article, you could have 20 co-authored papers per year! Imagine how full your CV would be!

Dr Gemma Blackwood
Lecturer and Coordinator of Communication Studies
School of Creative Arts and Humanities

Ph. +61 8 0889466617 
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gemma.blackwood at cdu.edu.au 

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-----Original Message-----
From: csaa-forum-bounces at lists.cdu.edu.au [mailto:csaa-forum-bounces at lists.cdu.edu.au] On Behalf Of Jon Stratton
Sent: Monday, 1 September 2014 12:51 PM
To: csaa-forum at lists.cdu.edu.au
Subject: [csaa-forum] collaborative publications

 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,

discussion list of the cultural studies association of australasia


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