Inventorship and authorship as attribution rights: An enquiry into the economics of scientific credit
Authorship and inventorship are “attribution rights” upon which individual scientists build their reputation and career. Social and legal norms concerning their distribution within research teams are currently criticized for failing to inform third parties on individual contributions. We examine the case of teams engaged in the “double disclosure” of their research results through both publications and patents, and model the negotiation process taking place between junior or female team members and the senior (male) ones. We suggest that the former may give up inventorship in order to secure authorship, even when entitled to the both. Based on a sample of 680 “patent–publication pairs” (related sets of patents and publications) we show that, very frequently, one or more authors of a publication do not appear as inventors of a related patent. This is less likely to happen for first and last authors, which is in accordance both with our model and the prevailing legal norms on inventorship. However, the probability of exclusion from inventorship also declines with seniority, and increases for women, which is compatible with our model only.
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