Thursday, August 8, 2013

How many authors can fit in a paper?

What should be the ideal number of authors in a paper? Of course there's no simple answer to this question and it it depends on many questions, like the field of the publication.

But here is my rule of thumb: The list of authors should not be longer than the abstract.

Clearly, some guys go way beyond this limit. Take a look at this paper, with 2,991 authors! (I saw this in Leo Monasterio's book Survival Guide to University Life).

Judging by the abstract, I can't understand a bit, except that it is has something to do with the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), and that's enough to earn my respect.

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