Week 8: Authorship

I feel like, within communication, it is a bit normal for faculty to collaborate with students on work in order to produce more publications. However, when looking at what it means to be an author, I looked toward the readings for some clarification. In reading about the different definitions of authorship, I was frustrated to find that the table on page 5 describing different definitions did not include any section for communication scholars. The closest to my field was through the “American Educational Research Association”, and was defined as “all those, regardless of status, who have made substantive creative contribution to the generation of an intellectual product are entitled to be listed as authors of that product”.

I would consider this to translate well into communication scholarship; there seems to be an emphasis on recognizing the work of others, especially for published articles that include graduate students working with faculty.  There are definitely come humanities-specific issues with authorship that I have you encountered in graduate school so far- I had a professor want to work on a research project with me, but insist on clarifying the age-old “first author” issue. I was so confused and anxious about who got first author that I ended up not even pursuing the project further.

After reading the articles, I feel like I have a better understanding: I think that anybody who is hands-on involved with the creation of the project, research, methodology, analysis, and discussion of the project deserve some sort of authorship. As a qualitative researcher, I don’t have to worry less about funding or lab spaces. However, I find that pressure to publish is a recurring theme in higher education, and I find that really problematic. As a GTA, I feel like most of my focus in my classroom is on teaching well, rather than latching on to students’ ideas in order to get a publication.

I feel as though authorship within the arts, as well as humanities, is possibly harder to define than in scientific fields. For example, if I come up with a really interesting research idea in class and my professor does a project on it, I would not get any sort of credit unless I was included on the project in writing, researching, or carrying out the study. It can be difficult as a graduate student to feel confident standing up for our ideas, asking for credit, and backing up these requests with knowledge about proper authorship.


One Reply to “Week 8: Authorship”

  1. I agree that authorship with art is harder to define. Even Shakespeare is said he borrowed the plot elements, the concept of the revenge tragedy and the character traits from Thomas Kyd’s Spanish Tragedy in writing Hamlet.

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