Inventorship and authorship as attribution rights: An enquiry into the economics of scientific credit
Authorship and inventorship contribute to the reputation of individual scientists and are distributed across several individuals, due to the importance of teamwork in both science and technology. For academic teams that both publish and patent their research results, we compare the social and legal norms that affect the negotiation over the distribution of authorship and inventorship. We use text-mining techniques to identify 680 "patent-publication pairs" (related sets of patents and publications), for a sample of Italian academic scientists. On average, the number of co-authors is larger than the number of co-inventors, especially in medical-related fields. First and last authors have a lower probability of being excluded from inventorship. However, the probability of exclusion also declines with seniority, as expected from social norms. Women have a significant higher probability to be excluded, other things being equal. Long-lasting doubts on the reliability of authorship as a tool for allocating scientific credit are reinforced, and can be extended to inventorship. Results for attribution rights in science, as we obtain here, raise questions and provide insights on other settings in which attribution rights are both relevant and distributed within teams.
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