Fractional Authorship in Nuclear Physics

Research paper by B. Pritychenko

Indexed on: 25 Sep '15Published on: 25 Sep '15Published in: Computer Science - Digital Libraries


Large, multi-institutional groups or collaborations of scientists are engaged in nuclear physics research projects, and the number of research facilities is dwindling. These collaborations have their own authorship rules, and they produce a large number of highly-cited papers. Multiple authorship of nuclear physics publications creates a problem with the assessment of an individual author's productivity relative to his/her colleagues and renders ineffective a performance metrics solely based on annual publication and citation counts. Many institutions are increasingly relying on the total number of first-author papers; however, this approach becomes counterproductive for large research collaborations with an alphabetical order of authors. A concept of fractional authorship (the claiming of credit for authorship by more than one individual) helps to clarify this issue by providing a more complete picture of research activities. In the present work, nuclear physics fractional and total authorships have been investigated using nuclear data mining techniques. Historic total and fractional authorship averages have been extracted from the Nuclear Science References (NSR) database, and the current range of fractional contributions has been deduced. The results of this study and their implications are discussed and conclusions presented.