Saturday, March 18, 2006

Co-authorship committee

Academic debate is a collaborative mode of knowledge production, while prevailing academic norms steer scholars to labor in solitary isolation. The DAWG believes this disconnect may be one factor accounting for the difficulties spelled out at Sedalia and Quail Roost. A systematic, synergistic and rigorous approach to co-authorship may help bridge this disconnect. This committee's charge is to draft guidelines for co-authorship that will make explicit expectations and responsibilities for DAWG co-authors.

Here is a good first stop for extant guidelines, including citations on the 1991 JAMA article (state of the art in medicine) and the "Vancouver Group." The authorship form at the JAMA website has a good checklist that should spark some creativity.


John Rief said...
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John Rief said...
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John Rief said...

DAWG Authorship Guidelines for Forum Pieces [1]

The Schenley Park Debate Authors Working Group (DAWG) sees authorship as a significant aspect of academic research, one that deserves careful and rigorous treatment, given its ethical and professional implications.[2] We believe that it is important that participants in the DAWG have a clear, common understanding of the standards for authorship at the outset of each project.

Given the history of outstanding co-authorship throughout the field of rhetoric, argumentation theory, and debate scholarship, it is surprising that there is still a paucity of guidelines for conducting collaborative research in this area.[3] As intellectual collaboration is the lifeblood of intercollegiate academic debate, it is appropriate that sound and workable guidelines be developed for translating collective intellectual labor into professional argumentation scholarship.

I. Co-Authorship Guidelines for the Debate Author's Working Group [4]

It is our belief that the practice of co-authorship should involve the substantial involvement of all contributing authors. Substantial involvement is defined by the following criteria which must be met by each individual who will be listed as an author in the final work. Under each major heading, there are several modes of involvement that contributors may select.

1. Inventional Process: We recognize the importance of the initial phase of creation that helps to set the stage for collaboration in the first place and the importance of linking up with individuals throughout the process of writing and research who can make additional substantial contributions critical to the project's completion. For this reason, we believe that co-authors should be involved in the initial conception of the project, mapping the goals and methods for completion of the project, or contributing substantial intellectual labor throughout evolution of the project as goals and the overall conception of the piece shift and change to meet new understandings and research findings.

2. Writing and Revising: We also recognize the importance of substantial written contributions to the collaborative work effort as these justify the use of the term "author" in the first place; however, we believe that "authorship" can be understood in a broader sense to include both the initial contribution of substantial writing or the contribution of substantial written revisions later on in the process. Both of these activities imply a deep investment in the construction of the work at hand. For this reason, a coauthor may be understood as an individual who drafts substantial original material or makes written contributions by proposing substantial revisions throughout the process.

3. Research: Given the importance of research both in terms of the production of scholarly works and the development of arguments for the intercollegiate academic debate contest round, it is our belief that it should play an important role in the collaborative process of co-authorship. For this reason, substantial contributions in this area include setting the initial research agenda through a cooperative process of identifying where the working group should seek out relevant information and what kinds of information are most important to the completion of the project, working through primary and secondary source material in order to identify the most important elements to include in the final project, and finally synthesizing the research that has been completed so as to craft a final coherent product.

4. Final Approval: As with any collaborative work effort, it is important that all individuals involved, should they wish to be identified as authors, give their consent to the final project. This avoids confusion, controversy, and de-legitimation of the work effort after it has gone on to the publishing phase.

II. Order of Authors [5]

To ensure that all participants have a common understanding of research responsibilities, and to avoid confusion, we believe that it is important to establish the order of authors, including a lead author.

1. The lead author will be responsible for:

 Contributing key written material.

 Corresponding with journal editors and conveying necessary information to other DAWG members involved in the project.

 Synthesizing material contributed by coauthors, e.g. by knitting together sections, generating thesis statements and implications or conclusions..

 Confirming that the content contributed to the project meets the ethical and quality standards of the group.

 Making final decisions about the order of authors and those included in the acknowledgments.

2. We believe that those who have made significant contributions (as defined above) are entitled to be included as co-authors. Where there is a clear difference in the size of these contributions, this will be reflected in the order of these authors.

3. All others who fulfill the criteria for co-authorship with equal contributions will be included in alphabetical order of their last names.

4. If all authors feel that they have contributed equally, this can be indicated in a footnote or by directing readers to the DAWG Authorship Guidelines.


[1] Revised from a draft document generated by the DAWG co-authorship committee (John Rief & Carly Woods), polished and approved by acclimation at the December 1, 2006 DAWG meeting.

[2] As representatives of the University of Pittsburgh, it is assumed that all research activities conducted by the DAWG will comply with the University of Pittsburgh’s Guidelines for Ethical Research, available at available at

[3] The following examples should suffice to indicate the quality of co-authorship that has been advanced: Ronald Walter Greene and Darrin Hicks, "Lost Convictions: Debating Both Sides and the Ethical Self-Fashioning of Liberal Citizens," Cultural Studies, 19.1 (2005): 100-126; Kathryn M. Olson and G. Thomas Goodnight, "Entanglements of Consumption, Cruelty, Privacy, and Fashion: The Social Controversy Over Fur," The Quarterly Journal of Speech, 80.3 (August, 1994): 249-276; Chaim Perelman and L. Olbrechts-Tyteca, The New Rhetoric: A Treatise on Argumentation, (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1969); Celeste M. Condit, Benjamin R. Bates, Ryan Galloway, Sonja Brown Givens, Caroline K. Haynie, John W. Jordan, Gordon Stables, and Hollis Marshall West, "Recipes of Blueprints for Our Genes? How Contexts Selectively Activate the Multiple Meanings of Metaphors," Quarterly Journal of Speech 88 August 2002): 303-26; Gordon R. Mitchell, Damien Pfister, Georgeta Bradatan, Dejan Colev, Tsvetelina Manolova, Gligor Mitkovski, Ivanichka Nestorova, Milena Ristic and Gentiana Sheshi, "Navigating Dangerous Deliberative Waters: Shallow Argument Pools, Group Polarization and Public Debate Pedagogy in Southeast Europe," Controversia: An International Journal of Debate and Democratic Renewal 4 (2006): 69-84.

[4] These guidelines were developed in large part through a revision of the guidelines established by the NHMRC / AVCC (National Health and Medical Research Council / Australian Vice Chancellors' Committee) Statement and Guidelines on Research Practice (1997). This statement can be found at cy/researchprac.htm#6. We also consulted guidelines developed in other areas of study including those produced by the Journal of the American Medical Association.

[5] Suggestions on the order of authors are adopted from the British Sociological Association, “Authorship Guidelines for Academic Papers”, 2001, available at

John Rief said...

To DAWG Members:

Above are the co-authorship criteria we discussed and approved during the meeting on Friday. A worksheet for use in the preparation of professional documentation concerning your activities as a co-author will be completed shortly and made available on the blog. Sorry for the multiple attempts to post. This document did not want to translate well into the comments section.