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lip through any recent issue of Nature, including this one, and the story is
 

Summary: F
lip through any recent issue of Nature,
including this one, and the story is
there in black and white: almost all
original research papers have multiple
authors. So far this year, in fact, Nature has
published only six single-author papers, out of
a total of some 700 reports. And the propor-
tions would be much the same in any other
leading research journal.
Of course, there is nothing new about this:
the scholars who study the folkways of science
have been tracking the decline of the single-
author paper for decades now. And they have
followed the parallel growth of `invisible col-
leges' of researchers who are separated by
geography yet united in interest. But what
is new is how their studies have been turbo-
charged by the availability of online databases
containing millions of papers, as well as ana-

  

Source: Amaral, Luis A.N. - Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Northwestern University

 

Collections: Physics; Biology and Medicine