MGA Advocacy: Authorship

Navigating Authorship

Read Shannon’s story to learn the importance of knowing the fine details of Monash’s authorship policy and discussing it early on. An MGA advocate’s guidance helped resolve their concerns.

Shannon, a second-year PhD student was elated when they heard back from Essence, a prestigious journal for research in environmental science. The journal was impressed with the paper Shannon had submitted and wanted it published immediately!

Shannon got to work. They spent the next 6 months in their lab writing the paper and an additional 4 months refining the article for the journal. When the paper was complete, Shannon sent the document to their supervisors who approved it – but also added extra authors to the paper.

Shannon was upset and confused about their associate supervisor and the postdoc from the lab being added as authors to the paper. Shannon had worked on writing the paper alone and felt that they should be the sole author. This was when they brought the issue to the MGA.

How did the MGA advocates help Shannon?

Shannon’s request was assigned to an MGA advocate, who studied their case and then took them through the rules of authorship at Monash University. This led Shannon to understand why the two other authors were added to their paper, as there are criteria other than writing it that can trigger a right to authorship. For example – conceptualising and designing a paper, or collecting a significant amount of data requiring intellectual judgment and input.

Shannon was able to resolve their issue after realising that the other authors had indeed contributed and therefore were also entitled to be named in the paper.

If you are facing difficulties like Shannon or want to learn more about the University’s Research Authorship and Attribution Policy, please contact our advocates at Monash Graduate Association. We will get back to you within 48 hours. This is a free service and anything you tell us will be confidential. 

You don’t have to go through this alone!