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Authorship of publications is the main way scientists received credit for their academic research. But as scientific research projects have become larger and more collaborative, the number of contributors has increased, and so has the potential for disputes over authorship. There is rarely detailed accounting of effort to justify authorship inclusion or placement. Instead, authorship is often negotiated by research team members, which is complicated by there often being large power differentials between team members. Existing recommendations are to try to get authors to work out disputes between themselves, which is unlikely to occur. There is an urgent need for an independent body that can offer binding arbitration for scientific collaborators and journals, like practices in other collaborative disciplines.
This is a preprint submission to PeerJ Preprints. It has been submitted to PLOS Biology.