25 August 2015

Living the Matthew effect with kiloauthors

The word “kiloauthors” is getting some traction. Wow.

I make a cameo in this article in Times Higher Education (which is affiliated with the Times newspaper in London, not New York) about journal articles authored by large numbers of people.

It’s been interesting to see the Matthew effect at work. Getting attention in one high profile venue lead to another, and another, and another. While I knew intellectually that these journalistic outlets are copying from influencing each other, it’s something else to see it in action with your own stuff.

And it’s been a little weird to see how this post in May has rippled out past the usual confines of this blog’s limited readership, and how it compares to other stuff I’ve put out in the same time. Since March, I’ve had four data-driven papers (including one I thought might get some media attention), three book chapters, helped edit a book, and what gets the most attention? A quick blog post.

Related posts

When does authorship stop meaning anything useful?

External links

Is mass authorship destroying the credibility of papers?


Anonymous said...

It's funny how we get to be "experts" on things. I get asked about/quoted on humour in papers because I published a paper called "On whimsy, jokes, and beauty: can scientific writing be enjoyed" (http://library.queensu.ca/ojs/index.php/IEE/article/view/5310). This got more international media attention than anything related to my ACTUAL science ever has!

My take is only slightly different from yours. I think kiloauthorship is essentially harmless. It's obviously not what most of us think of as authorship; but it's not like anyone is in any danger of misunderstanding and thinking all the 5,154 authors of Aad et al. 2015 actually contributed to writing! (I expand on this here: http://wp.me/p5x2kS-92)

Enjoy your media celebrity while you can, I guess!

- Steve Heard

Chris Woolston said...

That was one of my most-read columns. People love the kiloauthors!