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May 1970

Trends in Authorship

Arch Intern Med. 1970;125(5):771-772. doi:10.1001/archinte.1970.00310050009001

A major trend in the organization of science during the past two decades has been an evolution away from the individual investigator in favor of research teams. Accompanying this trend, scientific publications have become afflicted with an increasing tendency towards multiple authorship of papers. Almost any scientific journal will reveal this affliction. In the case of the journal Circulation, volumes 3 through 6, covering the years 1951 and 1952, included 348 papers, of which almost one third (106) had four or more authors. Of these, 35, or 10 per cent of the total, had five or more authors; five papers had seven or more authors. These percentages were intermediate to the findings in the American Journal of Physiology, volumes 167 to 171, which yielded 17 per cent of 397 papers having four or more authors, and the Journal of Clinical Investigation, volumes 29 to 30, which revealed 35 per cent

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