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This study aimed to explore the causes, types, and consequences of authorship conflicts among the researchers of selected research institutions in Dhaka, Bangladesh; and to suggest ways to reduce conflicts. A sample of 100 researchers was given a semi-structured questionnaire; 45 subjects responded. The responses were confidential and anonymous. Over two-thirds of the respondents were aware of authorship conflicts, and one-third had actually faced conflicts with their co-authors. Of them, four faced conflicts with their juniors, while 13 faced conflicts with their seniors or supervisors. The primary causes of such conflicts appear to be unethical claims of authorship, violation of authorship order, and deprivation of authorship. In most cases, the victims became frustrated and had to give up, and avoided a direct clash to safeguard their job. Four respondents claimed to have been victimized for raising their voice. Conflict was never resolved in seven cases. To reduce conflicts, respondents suggested that authorship should be decided before the study begins, order of authorship must be determined according to contribution, and a standard code of authorship should be followed strictly. Authorship conflicts arise among researchers mostly due to what they regard as unethical practice of their co-authors, supervisors, and department heads in the absence of any formal authorship policy in the institutions. A standard code of authorship, sensitization of researchers to the problem through open discussions and advocacy, and formation of a grievance redress committee are suggested to minimize such conflicts. Although the sample size was small, some of the specific recommendations will be appropriate in many other cases.
Learned Publishing is the journal of the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers, published in collaboration with the Society for Scholarly Publishing. The journal is published quarterly in January/April/July/October.
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