Conventions of Scientific Authorship

Pardis Sabeti published her first scientific paper when she was an undergraduate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her name had appeared in acknowledgment sections before, but that was the first time she was listed as an author — and she was first on the author list. It was an important milestone in the development of her scientific career.

Sabeti has moved on. These days, as assistant professor in genomics and systems biology at Harvard University, she usually is listed last on papers that come out of her lab. Although students have to earn their way onto the lab’s papers, Sabeti admits to being instinctively inclusive when it comes to authorship. Inclusiveness is appropriate, she says, because her students “are always intellectually involved — not just a pair of hands in the lab.”

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