This question pertains to author/contributor order and grouping on a technical document.

  • I performed tests on some equipment and had two other people directly involved.
  • My boss and his boss need to both be listed on the document as they ordered the testing and the paper needs them on it to have any validity.
  • There were several other people who were not actively involved but made contributions ranging from from a comment like "hey, don't forget to test XYZ" to providing a part needed in testing

How do I order the people involved in testing and do I separate the active testers from 'other' contributors?

Below is a screenshot of what I've got right now. (names and subject are changed) enter image description here

  • I take it this is for publication in a journal or a conference proceeding? Apr 28, 2014 at 15:37
  • @MonicaCellio No, that just happens to be a format I was familiar with and picked it arbitrarily. It's a report on failure mode analysis testing to be used proving re-engineering of a product is not needed.
    – AppFzx
    Apr 28, 2014 at 15:39
  • I expect the target audience to read the authors, most of the abstract, watch 30 seconds of the six hours of attached video and forget the document exists.
    – AppFzx
    Apr 28, 2014 at 15:40
  • Yeah, sadly that's pretty common for test reports. Make those first 30 seconds good -- maybe an explosion will help? :-) But more seriously, who is the audience community -- people within your institution, people within your field, the whole Internet, etc? What you do with authors is probably affected both by how known/credentialed any of those people are and the norms of the community in question. Apr 28, 2014 at 15:47
  • @MonicaCellio Intended audience is our parent company. Very few there know my name, most reading will know my boss and all reading will know the VP. It's possible it will go outside the company but that audience will either be a national laboratory or other people that will ignore individual authorship and regard the document as coming from my company as an entity. I know of no similar documents we've produced. Normally testing is internal to the parent company and we never see it.
    – AppFzx
    Apr 28, 2014 at 17:11

1 Answer 1


1) A comment like "hey, don't forget to test XYZ" gets an acknowledgement at the end. 2) I've never seen a format like this, where you actually separate the author list into two sections. I like it. Just have never seen it. 3) Bosses go at the end of the author list. In academia or government, they should be left off if they had no real involvement. But well-known people often get author credit just for their name recognition. Everyone agrees it is unethical, but many people do it anyway. Industry may be different. 4) Providing a part: Not enough info to decide. Normally, someone who just made something to your specs, using only standard techniques, would not get any share of the authorship. That goes for machining, mixing chemicals, soldering a circuit, etc. Use an acknowledgement. 5) Some journals require an explanation of what each author did, and it gets published with the paper (in a boxed footnote on the first page, in a tiny font). I love that; helps keep people honest. In your case, it would probably defeat the purpose of your publication. "All the real work was done by the first three guys. Our boss told us to take the measurements. The Vice-President of Research did nothing whatsoever." Not a good career strategy. Sadly.

  • And this is why we can't have nice things... Ain't research great?
    – AppFzx
    Apr 29, 2014 at 20:01
  • I really like this article: usgs.gov/usgs-manual/1100/1100-5.html I'm going to create another question asking validation of the "Title / Authorship / Acknowledgements / Credits" section after I complete it and link it here. (assuming I don't find an excellent example elsewhere) Brevity is my goal. I expect no will be bothered to flip past the first page so I want a lot of meat on it.
    – AppFzx
    Apr 29, 2014 at 20:25

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