- The chemist noted that it is normal for the PI to put his/her name on any papers written in their lab. Not always do they read the papers before submitting them.
- The chemist also noted that the last paper which was sent to the PI had three authors on it, the two doing the research and the PI. When it was returned it had four names on it - and neither researcher knew the fourth one. They questioned the PI, who responded: Oh, that's a former postdoc of mine. He's applying for a professorship in X and needs some more publications.
- The chemist had a previous PI in a previous lab in another European country. Here a big-shot American researcher was added to a paper to "insure" that it would be accepted for Nature. Needless to say, this researcher had neither done the research, nor written or even read the paper.
- The political scientist started into citation indices and how important they were for their field. Of particular importance is the number of quotations you get within two years of publication. The historian grumbled that it would be lovely to get papers published within two years of writing them, and having anyone read them and maybe one person publish a review within two years would be wonderful, but nothing will get cited within that time frame.
- The computer scientist noted that conference papers are more important than journal articles in her field, much to the shock of the chemist.
What can be done to get rid of "honorary authorship"? Or should we just accept it as the way things are done in some fields?