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Credit where credit is due? The impact of project contributions and social factors on authorship and inventorship


  • Haeussler, Carolin
  • Sauermann, Henry


We examine the extent to which different types of substantive project contributions as well as social factors predict whether a scientist is named as author on a paper and inventor on a patent resulting from the same project. Using unique survey data from over 2000 life scientists, we find that the predictors of authorship differ from those of inventorship. A wider range of project contributions may result in authorship, and social factors appear to play a larger role in authorship decisions than in inventorship decisions. We also find evidence that project contributions and social factors interact in predicting authorship, suggesting that the two sets of factors should be considered jointly rather than seen as independent determinants of attribution. In addition to providing novel insights into the functioning of the authorship and inventorship system, our results have important implications for administrators, managers, and policy makers, as well as for innovation scholars who often rely on patents and publications as measures of scientists’ performance.

Suggested Citation

  • Haeussler, Carolin & Sauermann, Henry, 2013. "Credit where credit is due? The impact of project contributions and social factors on authorship and inventorship," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 688-703.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:42:y:2013:i:3:p:688-703 DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2012.09.009

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    Cited by:

    1. Noriyuki Morichika & Sotaro Shibayama, 2016. "Use of dissertation data in science policy research," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 108(1), pages 221-241, July.
    2. Wang, Jian, 2016. "Knowledge creation in collaboration networks: Effects of tie configuration," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 68-80.
    3. repec:eee:infome:v:11:y:2017:i:2:p:371-388 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Malwina Mejer, 2012. "The impact of knowledge diversity on inventive performance at European universities," iCite Working Papers 2013-004, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    5. Sauermann, Henry & Roach, Michael, 2014. "Not all scientists pay to be scientists: PhDs’ preferences for publishing in industrial employment," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 32-47.
    6. Wang, Jian & Hicks, Diana, 2015. "Scientific teams: Self-assembly, fluidness, and interdependence," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 197-207.
    7. Lander, Bryn, 2016. "Boundary-spanning in academic healthcare organisations," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(8), pages 1524-1533.
    8. Lissoni, Francesco & Montobbio, Fabio & Zirulia, Lorenzo, 2013. "Inventorship and authorship as attribution rights: An enquiry into the economics of scientific credit," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 49-69.
    9. Walsh, John P. & Lee, You-Na, 2015. "The bureaucratization of science," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(8), pages 1584-1600.
    10. Franzoni, Chiara & Sauermann, Henry, 2014. "Crowd science: The organization of scientific research in open collaborative projects," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 1-20.
    11. Carolin Haeussler & Henry Sauermann, 2016. "The Division of Labor in Teams: A Conceptual Framework and Application to Collaborations in Science," NBER Working Papers 22241, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item


    Guest authorship; Ghost authorship; Attribution; Social status; Project contributions; Patent–paper-pairs;

    JEL classification:

    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • L30 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - General


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