As part of our ongoing discussion about the accountability of authors and co-authors (comments are still very welcome), I decided to take a snapshot look at the popularity of Author Contributions statements in Nature. We strongly encourage authors to make these statments, specifying the ways in which the authors contributed to the paper, but we do not make it mandatory. Should that change? Part of the answer to that question lies in how useful authors find the idea. So it is of interest to note that in the past three or four issues of Nature, about half of the Articles and Letters (primary research) carried contributions statements. Here are some examples, all from the same issue of Nature (1 November 2007):
J.L., J.R.S. and J.W.L. conceived the Brainbow strategies. J.R.S. and J.W.L. supervised the project. J.L. built initial constructs and validated them in vitro and in vivo. T.A.W. performed all cerebellar axonal tracing and colour profile analysis with programs developed with J. Lu. H.K. performed all live imaging experiments. R.W.D. generated Brainbow-1.0 lines expressing cytoplasmic XFPs, and R.A.B. generated Brainbow-1.1 constructs and lines. J.L., T.A.W. and R.W.D. screened mouse lines.
S.H.C. designed and performed experiments, analysed data and wrote the paper; N.C., M.T. and J.M.G. designed and performed experiments; D.R. and M.B.G. developed analytical tools; and C.I.B. designed experiments, analysed data and wrote the paper.
(more on the post continuation page)
All authors contributed equally to this work. A.C. and J.H.H. conducted the observations at the telescope. A.C. reduced the data, and P.W.L. performed the Monte Carlo modelling. A.C. wrote the main paper, and P.W.L. wrote the Supplementary Information. All authors discussed the results and implications and commented on the manuscript at all stages.
All authors contributed extensively to the work presented in this paper.
S.T.G., B.B.-L. and D.E.A. designed the experiment. S.D.P. and D.E.A. assembled input data, and B.B.-L. and S.D.P. wrote code, ran the model, and analysed output data. B.B.-L. administered the experiment and wrote the manuscript.
P.J.M. jointly conceived the study with A.H., designed and implemented the simulation model, and prepared the manuscript; A.H. created the analytic model with contributions from H.J.E. and P.J.M, supervised its analysis and edited the manuscript; H.J.E. analysed and described the analytic model, carried out the stochastic implementation of the simulation model, and edited the manuscript.
T.S. designed the study. T.S. and E.A.P. interpreted the data and wrote the paper. T.S. and A.M.R. developed stimuli, gathered behavioural pilot data, and conducted behavioural data analysis. T.S. gathered fMRI data. T.S. conducted neuroimaging analyses with the help of A.M.R. and C.M.R., and with advice of E.A.P. Whole-brain exploratory analysis was conducted by C.M.R.
T.J. and U.H.v.A. designed the study; T.J., E.A.M., M.I., S.M. and P.A.L. performed experiments; T.J., E.A.M., M.I. and S.M. collected and analysed data; M.B., K.F., N.C.D.P., D.M.S., N.v.R. and S.P.W. provided reagents and mice; T.J., E.A.M., M.I. and U.H.v.A. wrote the manuscript; S.M., K.F., S.E.H., T.M. and S.P.W. gave technical support and conceptual advice.
S.C.W., P.R.J.B., P.v.W. and I.K.T developed the concept and designed experiments. S.C.W. and S.G. performed P. infestans transformations and plant inoculations. P.C.B. carried out confocal microscopy and advised on cell biology. S.C.W. performed GUS assays and light microscopy. A.O.A. and J.G.M. quantified gene expression. Antibody detection of tagged transformants was performed by I.H. and S.C. L.M., J.G.M., E.M.G. and M.R.A. carried out experiments with P. atrosepticum. L.P. conducted all bioinformatics analyses.
Y.O. and Y.Z. designed the experiments and prepared the manuscript. Y.O. performed the experiments. G.S., M.K.R. and Y.M. generated the chimaera mice from the BayGenomics ES clone.
A.P.W., R.P.-J. and J.M.F. designed the experiments. A.P.W. and R.P.-J. performed the experiments and analysed the data. K.A.W. designed the kinetic model and performed error analysis. F.G. and B.J.B. performed molecular dynamics simulations. A.H. provided TRX. J.M.S.-R. provided Trx and Trx(P34H). A.P.W., F.G., K.A.W., R.P.-J. and J.M.F. wrote the paper.