Good Co-Author Behavior

«I think we’ve got enough information now, don’t you?»
«All we have is one ‘fact’ you made up.»
«That’s plenty. By the time we add an introduction, a few illustrations, and a conclusion, it will look like a graduate thesis. Besides, I’ve got a secret weapon that will guarantee a good grade! No teacher can resist this! A clear plastic binder! Pretty professional looking, eh?»
«I don’t want co-author credit on this, OK?»
Calvin and Hobbes in «Calvin and Hobbes» by Bill Watterson

One nice thing about working in an interdisciplinary part of science is that different skillsets can beautifully complete each other. I’m not a programmer, but I can do (some) data analysis and know (a few) psychological theories. So there is ample opportunities to cooperate with others.

So far, the work has turned out pretty well (considering I am swamped with other tasks), and looking at an article by Bozeman, Street, and Fiorito (1999), yeah, probably because their criteria (developed via a factor analysis) for good co-author behavior are fulfilled here (I did change the name of the third item, though):

  • Consideration (go beyond formal role commitment, exercising tact in criticizing, receptive to ideas and viewpoints, self-critical perspective, recognition and appreciation for contributions)
  • Dependability (complete their work in a timely matter, keeping commitments, keeping coauthors informed, esp. about changes, modifications, etc.)
  • Merit-based Decisions (no abuses of power due to differing hierarchy, decisions based on merit)
    [originally: «Selfishness» (or rather, lack thereof), but I find the merit-based focus, which is an item in that factor, to be more useful (makes all three positive, and is akin to Lencioni’s «The Five Dysfunctions of a Team» — top of the pyramid is «Status and Ego», which — if present — undermines the quality of the work; note that lack of selfishness does not mean being a pushover, but the work counts, not the ego]

In this sense, something to adhere to … so happy writing. 🙂

Source: Bozeman, D. P., Street, M. D., & Fiorito, J. (1999). Positive and negative coauthor behaviors in the process of research collaboration. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 14, 159–176.