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Using a story of credit allocation gone wrong, we introduce some of the challenges that come with assigning credit to collaborative work in science, espeically given the historicial emphaisis on individual acheivement in our field. We explore traditional methods for indicating ownership of scientific work, particularly the ordering of authors on a paper. While this method for understanding who should get the lion’s share of the credit for a discovery is usually effective, it is complicated by discipline-specific variations in the order of authorship. We also look at how alphabetical ordering of authorship in some fields further complicates the picture, how “guest authors” and “ghost authors” reflect flaws in the credit allocation system, and how bias affects the process adversely. We end with a discussion of the alarming colloboration penalty women economists experience, which illustrates the mishaps that can and do occur as a result of the existing system.
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