New role of senior authors

Recently, the editors of the journals Science, Nature, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences discussed the role of senior authors.

The journals raise a new topic or requirement, and discuss the roles, duties and responsibilities of the senior authors. For example, Science now wants the senior author for a group to confirm that he or she has personally reviewed the original data. He or she must also make sure the data selected for publication in specific figures and tables have been correctly presented.

In this way, Science aims to identify a few senior authors who collectively take responsibility for all the data presented in each published paper.  Up till now, usually the first author has been asked to accept this responsibility.

This will in my view soon also raise the issue of data storage. Should the senior author also keep copies the datasets, and copies of log books?

The Editorial in Science finally wishes to promote good mentoring and the journal discusses how mentors and supervisors should be acknowledged.

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