co authors14

Christian Conrad 


University of Hiedelberg

Christian was a PhD student in University of Mannheim. His supervisor was Prof. Mammen

Although the University of Mannheim is very good (with excellent researchers like Prof. Mammen and PhD students like Christian) if you would like to visit a place in Germany I would suggest you not to go to Mannheim (I am afraid that you might find it a bit boring). Instead I think that it would be much better for you  to visit the zoo in Duisburg Zoo-Duisburg

There you will find a new generation of German Koalas! Koala friendly

So think again: Mannheim (with a lot of excellent economists and econometricians) or Duisburg (with a new generation of German Koalas)? Which of the two sounds more exciting? The decision is yours!

What Are the Types of Inappropriate Authorship?

There are three types of inappropriate authorship. They are called guest authorship, gift authorship, and ghost authorship. Sometimes, the ‘guest and gift’ are also referred to as ‘honorary authors’ as there is very little difference between them.

The problem with including these authors is that the integrity of the work becomes questionable and it may also have an adverse effect on whether or not the submission is accepted. Honorary authorship is totally unethical and dilutes the credits which an honest writer should be getting. Articles with over five authors are more likely to have ‘honorary authors’ than those with three or fewer authors.

co authors1

What Is a Gift Author?

Gift authorship is given to any senior in the department, chair of an organization, institutional head, or head of department. This person has not contributed to the conception of the manuscript but the junior fellow includes his name as a ‘mark of respect’. Such passive noncontributors should not be included in the list of authors.

What Is a Guest Author?

Usually, an influential person whose name is included in an attempt to make the journal editor biased towards publication.

What Is a Ghost Author?

Ghost authors are very common in some research work especially clinical trials. These are of three types:

• The name of a junior faculty member is omitted on purpose when the major work might have been done by him, thus robbing him of authorship credit.

co authors10

• In the second type, the manuscript was prepared by a person only for financial gain and this person did not want this name to be included in the paper.

• The third type is the writer of a manuscript who is employed by a company which, e.g., sponsors a drug trial to get financial gain but whose name is not included in the list of authors.

Are These Inappropriate Authors Common in the Scientific World?

Inappropriate authorship is becoming very common globally and its reported prevalence is estimated to be 9–60% in different studies.


What Are the Other Types of Authorship Misconduct?

Coerced author: In this, the senior faculty forces his junior colleague to include his name in the research work. This senior researcher may have contributed absolutely nothing to the research findings.

co authors7

Mutual support authorship: This act of bestowing authorship is carried out by mutual cooperation and agreement by authors to include each other’s names in scientific manuscripts to achieve higher credits.

Duplicate authorship: This is an act of publishing identical manuscripts in more than one journal with different headings to increase the number of publications in the curriculum vitae.

Forged authorship: In this, the author is unaware of his name being included. He has not taken part in the research or manuscript writing, reviewing, or drafting, but is awarded a place in authorship without his knowledge or consent to increase the chances of the paper being accepted by a peer-reviewed journal.

co authors5

Orphan authorship: These are the authors who had contributed considerably to the work, but are omitted from the list of authors of the manuscript.

Denial of authorship: This is a dreadful form of authorship abuse in which a paper of research work carried out by others is submitted to a journal without providing the credit to core searchers in the form of an authorship and acknowledgement.

If one is writing a paper with 10 authors, a choice for authorship ordering and equal contribution designation must be made from among the almost 2 billion possibilities (1857945600 to be exact). No wonder authorship arguments are commonplace!

The total number of authorship orderings/designations is given by n! \cdot 2^{n-1}. These numbers also enumerate the number of ways to lace a shoe. Other examples of objects whose enumeration results in these numbers are given in the Online Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences entry for this sequence (A002866).

The first twenty numbers are:

1, 4, 24, 192, 1920, 23040, 322560, 5160960, 92897280, 1857945600, 40874803200, 980995276800, 25505877196800, 714164561510400, 21424936845312000, 685597979049984000, 23310331287699456000, 839171926357180416000, 31888533201572855808000, 1275541328062914232320000.

co authors8

In the case of a paper with 60 authors, the number of ways to order authors and designate equal contribution is much larger than the number of atoms in the universe. Good luck with your next consortium project!

co authors16


co authors12


co authors17


Aris Kartsaklas

Aris was a (hard working) PhD student of mine in the University of York.

Current position: Brunel University London 

koalafacePrevious position: Queen Mary University of London, 

School of Economics and Finance

Jinki Kim  

Jinki was a PhD student of mine in the University of York (during the period 1999-2003). After four years of studying for a PhD in the UK he finally did the right thing: went back to Korea to work in the private sector. He was a hard working student. However, sometimes having a PhD student (even a hard working one) feels like a burden in the back:


Marika Karanassoukoaladance

Personal web page


Previous Position:

Queen Mary,University of London

Marika is my sister!  If you have a sister then here are some tips:

To start with if you have a sister then what can I say… bad luck!  If your are studying for a PhD and your sister is studying for a PhD as well then make sure not to work in the same research area with her. If you make the mistake to do research in the same area then do not write joint papers with her. This is the best advice I can give you.

Anyhow for me is too late now. For example, when we wrote a joint paper I did all the hard work and she was complaining all the time. I had to decide in which journal we would submit the paper. When it was rejected (surprise surprise!) guess what? She complained that it was my fault. When she gets a research leave guess who has to teach her modules? Poor me. The worst thing of all is that now that I am a professor I have to start writing references for her. I am telling you life is hard when you have a sister. However, here is a cute photo. Me and my sister. Can you guess who is who!


Here is a video of me and my sister after one of our papers was rejected, while we are discussing what to do next: