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Women in Science

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Video clip: Angela has found alphabetical authorship is not always understood in multidisciplinary contexts and needs managing when authors from different disciplines work together.

What about things like author order, have you had any issues around?

This is another interesting question because of the difference, in many avenues in chemistry it is, authorship is alphabetical, so it's completely over, there's no arguments you can't argue where your name fits in alphabetical order. So that's easy from the perspective of a publishing for chemistry, there's no arguments. What I have noticed and it was interesting in putting my CV in and getting it assessed by biologists is they looked initially at my CV and said she hasn't got any first author publications and I said 'well of course not, my name begins with R' [laughter]. And so there's obviously a cultural difference. So its fine now I make sure I explain that every time I put in an application and I can obviously point to… now I'm publishing things as a senior author it's a little different because it's obvious you can identify yourself wherever you are in the author list.

When you say that what do you mean?

Well you're starred, so your name appears with an asterisk, so it's obvious and if someone looks at the paper they can see you as the corresponding author. But yes, as first author it's certainly, that's the challenge that I've come across. So what I do now with my group most of the time is publish in order of contribution, so I haven't had, I'd say there have been a few people that have come to me and say, you know, I think I ought to be higher up in the ranking here but really it's never been about whether they should justifiably have been included as a first author or not, I try and be as inclusive as possible and I'm all for putting out papers where people have joint first authorship where I think they've made equivalent contributions. We do that an awful lot.

And similarly because a lot of my work is multi-disciplinary I have an awful lot of publications where I am a co-corresponding author with our collaborator in biology and I think that's right that's the way it should be because it's recognising that you're coming from two different disciplines and you're both contributing different things but equally to the value of what you're publishing, what you've discovered.