Before talking about the authors’ order, it is valid to know what exactly an article is and what its purpose is.

Today, the number of articles produced and their quality are important factors that are taken into account in evaluating whether these professionals deserve benefits, such as promotions or financing for their projects.

Unfortunately, there are many polemics related to the merits and authorship of these works. The improper inclusion of authors or their omission are common practices everywhere in the world. Much of this is simply because researchers do not know or respect the ethics of authorship. Thinking about it, we set up this post so you understand more about it and stay tuned.

So, does the order of authors matter?

Indeed, despite some measures that have been taken to avoid homogeneous merit for all authors, the order of authors of a scientific paper does not always follow a single rule.

Normally, the order of the names is a factor used to evaluate the importance that each author had in the scientific work. This can be very relevant in judgments such as: approval of research projects, promotion processes, public tenders (scientific initiation, PIBIC projects, evaluations within a department, university or institute), etc.

In US, at least, the system also includes the second author as an important piece. For example, for the productivity bag, only articles in which the researcher was first, second or last author.

However, this is not the rule. Although it is less frequent nowadays, it is possible that editorial requirements dictate that the authors’ names should be listed simply in alphabetical order, which does not concern any author’s contribution to the work.

In other cases, as in many of the programs that exist for scientific initiation and even postgraduate, there is a need for the first name listed in the order of the authors to be the name of the student who will present the work.

It is of the utmost importance that the authors pay attention to the requirements, therefore, submitting a work with the names listed in alphabetical order when the convention is listing the authors in order of importance can be very detrimental to the researchers.

The expected to facilitate the prosecution is that all banks that will evaluate the project is familiar with the editorial conventions and also acts on the same candidate’s research area.

Since when the required order is alphabetic there are no complications, we have brought some explanations about the main points to be observed when the agreed order is of importance.

So how does order of importance work?

First of all, it is necessary to observe that any work, whatever it is, has an individual who idealized it, defined its objectives and what will be the object to be studied, besides the methods that will be used for this research. Even if this individual does not master all the methods used in the work, he should be the main author, since it was his that broke the entire development of the article.

It is important to keep in mind that the first author will be considered the main of the article. He is interpreted as the one who gave the greatest contribution to the work and also who wrote most of it.

But that does not always happen. Many authors with big names give up the first position for assistants and scholarship holders so that they can become better known in the academic world and become more enthusiastic about the project.

From the second, the importance of them tends to decrease according to the position in the list. Emphasizing that the contribution given by the second is less than or equal to that of the first, that of the third is less than or equal to that of the second and so goes.

With the exception of the latter author, he may assume greater importance than those quoted above. Orienters are usually placed last. Not always the supervisor, even if he has had a relevant participation, must appear as the author of the work. When the advisor is not reported as co-author of the work, his / her collaboration must necessarily be recorded in the acknowledgments.

But not everything is perfect…

Unfortunately, with some frequency, there is a somewhat abusive practice that is the inclusion of the advisor or head of research even though he has not made any contributions.

Especially in the postgraduate area there are great conflicts about putting the advisor as author. Sometimes students, especially doctoral students, need so little guidance that they can be considered as the main and unique authors of the research.

When the main contributor and also the person who performed most of the writing of the manuscript was the leader or advisor, it is indicated as “corresponding author”. Which means that all responsibility to the scientific journal and the submission of the work is yours.

It is often difficult to define exactly the contribution that has been given by each researcher. So it is generally assumed that the former was in fact the largest contributor and the order listed below of the secondary does not interfere so much in the final product.

Who should be considered an author?

Undue inclusion of authors happens with a certain frequency. Often collaborators who do not have large participations end up being included because they have an intimate relation with the main author. Colleagues, friends, fellows and trainees do not have the right to be considered authors solely because of these conditions.
This evil custom must be combated and avoided using clear rules of authorship requirements from the beginning of the project to its end. Each professional area will have its authoring code with its predefined requirements. Generally, it is considered author who plans, executes and writes part of the project.