Long live the days of the lonely
scientist. As technology continues to advance, it becomes exceedingly difficult
to conduct groundbreaking research alone. Collaboration is vital in a research project
– it allows every individual equal opportunity to speak their thoughts and add to an existence body of knowledge. Most projects are headed by a lead
researcher, defined as an experienced researcher who oversees the majority of the
work. Once the lead researcher has committed to doing a research project, they
assemble a team of collaborators to ensure the project conducted is
scientifically valid, ethically and culturally appropriate, and time/cost
efficient. Some of the individuals the lead researcher collaborates with may
become core members of the research team and earn coauthorship. 

Whilst some research papers in
health sciences may have only one author, the typical paper contains four
coauthors and some could have up to dozens of coauthors. Many are considered to be a “middle” coauthor,
which is often a step before being a lead author. This role allows you to have an
integral part of the team, while gaining the experience to learn and become
familiar with the process of coauthoring. Others may play a more minor role as consultants, and
when appropriate, can be thanked in acknowledgement sections of manuscripts that
benefitted from their contributions. For most disciplines in the health sciences, the person
who does most of the writing is designated as the first author and is listed
first in credit. The remaining authors are listed in order of contribution, defined
in terms of intellectual contribution and time dedicated to the project. The
person who contributes the second most amount of time and energy to the project
is listed as second author, and so on. When numerous coauthors are involved, whom
with equal contribution, coauthors are normally listed in alphabetical order.
However, to avoid emotionally-charged debate
over important contributions, decisions of who is listed, and order in which researchers
will be listed should be made early as possible in the research process.

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The
International Committee of Medical
Journal Editors (ICMJE) has established minimum criterion to ensure
everyone who has done the work of a coauthor receives proper recognition and
accepts responsibility for it. A researcher must meet all four of the following
conditions:

1.    
Make
substantial contributions to design of the study and/or data collection,
analysis, or interpretation. Authorship requires participation in the writing of the
research report.

2.    
All
coauthors make consequential contribution by drafting the manuscript or
providing critical revisions.

3.    
Approve
the final version of the paper submitted and published to ensure that no
one is listed as an author against their permission or knowledge. 

4.    
Accept
responsibility for the integrity of the paper. There should be no
ghost authorships, where someone who has made a substantial intellectual contribution
is not appropriately recognized, and no gift authorships, in which someone is
given honorary coauthorship without having significantly contributed to the
work.

      In a research study
about antimicrobial resistance, effective
collaboration and partnerships are crucial in building revolutionary research. Thus,
coauthoring will be very important within this study. The authors involved are all
entitled to recognition of their contribution, which will ultimately give
incentive for further research funding and serve as the basis for continued
career development.