The Journal of Extension - www.joe.org

April 2009 // Volume 47 // Number 2 // Editorial // 2ED1

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Some Cautionary Notes on Authorship

Abstract
Some Cautionary Notes on Authorship" cautions corresponding authors to list all authors in the final drafts they submit but only authors. "April JOE" mentions eight great articles, including two on evaluation that set the stage for the June issue.


Laura Hoelscher
Editor, Journal of Extension
Purdue University
West Lafayette, Indiana
joe-ed@joe.org

These two cautionary notes may seem somewhat contradictory, but they're both important.

List All Authors

Make sure that, when you submit your final, post-reviewer revision, you have listed and provided complete information about all the authors of your article. Leaving someone(s) out can cause hurt feelings at the least and have more serious repercussions at the worst. It is the corresponding author's responsibility to make sure this has been done.

Those of you who designate a graduate student as corresponding author have the responsibility to make sure you have taught your student this lesson and to double-check to make sure that he or she has learned the lesson and included all who should be included.

In October 2008, I made the point in my Editor's Page that you should "Teach Your Students Well." Teaching them about authorship protocol is as important as anything I mentioned last October. What I said then is just as true today. "It's not journal editors' job to teach them this--it's yours."

I have had a couple of authors drop that ball in the last month or so. The time I must spend dealing with these kinds of oversights is, as I also said in October, "time I cannot spend reviewing your submissions and revisions, sending your submissions out for review, and sending you your review results."

List Only Authors

Sometimes, however, author lists get out of hand, sometimes way out of hand. When I questioned one corresponding author, he defended the inclusion of some individuals who had had no role in preparing the article by saying that including them was a reflection of the "spirit of Extension." That may be a laudable or understandable sentiment, but it is not appropriate for a refereed journal, at least not this refereed journal.

JOE FAQ #7 answers the question "How Does JOE Define Authorship?" this way: "JOE defines authors as those individuals who have been involved in the preparation of an article, not all of the individuals who may have been involved in the project or program the article discusses."

An Acknowledgments section, placed between your article and your References section, is the place to acknowledge the contributions of those who deserve acknowledgment but who were not involved in the preparation of your article. That way, you uphold both the spirit of Extension and the standards of scholarship.

April JOE

Among the many excellent articles in this issue, and there are a lot, are three that take a close look at the attitudes of Extension staff on some important issues: "A Model of Employee Satisfaction: Gender Differences in Cooperative Extension," "Agricultural and Natural Resources Awareness Programming: Barriers and Benefits as Perceived by County Extension Agents," and "Organizational Restructuring and Its Effect on Agricultural Extension Educator Satisfaction and Effectiveness."

Farm transfer gets some attention in "Farm Transition and Estate Planning: Farmers' Evaluations and Behavioral Changes Due to Attending Workshops" and "New England Workshops Increase Participant Knowledge of Farm Transfer Issues." And "Extension Program Marketing and Needs Evaluation Using Craigslist" seems to me to be the epitome of a useful "tool" of our "trade."

But I want to call your particular attention to the first Feature, "Designing a Regional System of Social Indicators to Evaluate Nonpoint Source Water Projects," and the first Ideas at Work, "Practical Tips for Evaluators and Administrators to Work Together in Building Evaluation Capacity." Not only are they both good articles in their own right, but they also set the stage for the June JOE, which will feature a number of articles on evaluation in Extension.