I have previously written about the different publication cultures at RITMO. This includes different coauthorship traditions between our disciplines: musicology, psychology, and informatics. Our approach to avoid conflicts over (co)authorship is to discuss it often. We also have an exercise that we run occasionally at retreats. Since this may be a topic of interest to others, here I share the case we have developed. We typically allocate an hour for the exercise and split people into small groups (4–6 people) from different disciplines.

Publication exercise case study

Consider the following scenario:

  • Professor Pernille secures funding for a large project with a brilliant overarching research idea.
  • Professor Per leads a sub-project in the project focusing on an empirical investigation of the brilliant research idea. He hires PhD student Siri and Postdoc Palle to work on the experiment.
  • PhD fellow Siri and Postdoc Palle design and carry out the experiment.
  • Administrator Anton helps with recruiting all the participants, helps print questionnaires, and orders lunch for the participants.
  • PhD fellow Sofie provides all the sound material used in the study and performs a preliminary sound analysis.
  • Research assistant Anders helps with all the recordings for the experiment, including post-processing all the data.
  • Lab engineer Evilyn programs the system used for data collection.
  • Statistician Svein helps with the analysis of the data.
  • A large part of the analysis is done using a toolbox made by Postdoc Penelope.
  • Professor Pål suggests an alternative analysis method in a seminar with a presentation of the preliminary data results. This alternative analysis method is very promising and is therefore included in the paper.
  • PhD student Siri writes the main part of the paper.
  • Postdoc Palle makes all the figures and writes some of the text.
  • Professor Per reads the paper and comments on a few things.


  1. Who gets credited as author in the publication, and in which order?

  2. Seven years after the first publication, Professor Per reuses the dataset and toolbox in a follow-up study carried out by the new Postdoc Valentina. The original PhDs and postdocs are not around any longer. Who should be credited as an author in the second publication, and in which order?