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How To Become A Scientific Author In Poland: Delete Part Of Someone Else's Article You Think Is Wrong

from the it's-that-easy? dept

Copyrightgirl pointed us to a bizarre judgement from the Polish Supreme Court last year, which found that you can become co-author of a scientific text by deleting a few sentences that you believe to be incorrect:
The defendant wrote an article about music therapy, i.e. applying music in medical treatment. Not being a physician herself, the author had requested three colleagues to verify the article and, as a result, they suggested deleting some parts, which, in their view, were not compatible with accepted medical knowledge (they were probably right, as one of the deleted sentences considered replacing anesthesia by music during surgery, which even to devoted music lovers must sound rather extreme). The defendant initially agreed to publish the article together with her – then – colleagues as co-authors, but later changed her mind. The colleagues duly sued to have their co-authorship recognised and, in the eyes of many experts surprisingly, won in all instances, including the Supreme Court.
The trouble with this, of course, is that it leads to some ridiculous possibilities:
It also provokes the question whether all reviewers in scientific journals or university professors tutoring students, who certainly quite often (rightly or wrongly) consider certain parts of the reviewed works inaccurate or incorrect and have them deleted should not be regarded co-authors (if so, this would probably have to be the case with all university professors guiding their students through a thesis!).
It will be interesting to see what kind of cases try to build on this decision.

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Filed Under: co-authors, editing, poland


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  1. identicon
    MrWilson, 11 Nov 2011 @ 12:36am

    While the colleagues certainly should have received an acknowledgement for their contribution of consultation and editing, to assign authorship to them seems simply factually inaccurate and misleading.

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