Recent studies indicate that, in part because of power dynamics, women and early-career scholars (and likely other underrepresented groups) do not consistently receive appropriate authorship credit for their contributions to scientific papers. Because authorship is so central to career advancement, this problem represents a significant barrier to promoting a more diverse scientific workforce. Although publishers are creating more transparent mechanisms for describing authorship roles, research teams still have to navigate decisions about author inclusion and author order. This workshop will provide practical guidance to both early-career and senior scientists about navigating power dynamics, improving team climate, and promoting responsible authorship decisions. We will discuss how to create and implement a collaborative team authorship policy that facilitates inclusive discussions about authorship and power dynamics, and we will lead small-group and large-group discussions of a difficult authorship scenario and discuss strategies to help address these sorts of situations.

The workshop will be divided into three segments. During the first segment, we will present and discuss concerns about the ways in which power dynamics on science teams can affect authorship decisions. During the second segment, we will examine policies and procedures that can help address these concerns. During the third segment, we will discuss additional strategies for addressing these concerns by improving aspects of team climate. Each segment of the workshop will include a short lecture as well as small-group and large-group discussion.

Expected Outcomes

  • Participants will learn the latest research about the challenges teams face related to team power dynamics and authorship decisions.
  • Participants will develop greater understanding of the important effects of team climate on authorship decisions and identify strategies that they can use for promoting a positive climate on their own teams.
  • Participants will identify policies and procedures that can help their teams handle authorship decisions in a fair and transparent manner.


Dr. Kevin Elliott will serve as the workshop organizer and primary contact between the SciTS staff and all workshop participants. He is a philosopher of science and research ethicist who is serving as the lead-PI of the NSF-funded project, “Ethical Standards and Practices of Environmental Science Teams: Does Team Diversity Matter?” He is an Associate Professor at Michigan State University with joint appointments in Lyman Briggs College, the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, and the Department of Philosophy.

Dr. Kendra Cheruvelil, our moderator, is an environmental scientist with extensive experience and research in team science (e.g., Cheruvelil et al. 2014, Oliver et al. 2018). She also has years of experience mentoring early career scientists (e.g., she has taught ‘Entering Mentoring’ (Handelsmen et al. 2009), she served as the Director of a Graduate Fellowship Program focused on developing graduate understanding about teaching and learning, and she fosters effective and fair interdisciplinary collaborative research as Associate Dean of Research and Faculty Development. She is a Professor at Michigan State University with joint appointments in Lyman Briggs College (where she serves as Associate Dean) and the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife.

Dr. Patricia Soranno is an environmental scientist with extensive experience as lead-PI of large, interdisciplinary teams that have been funded by the US-NSF. She has worked closely with her co-PIs to implement ways that early-career researchers can feel empowered as fully-engaged members of research teams. The experiences of Dr. Soranno and her team have resulted in numerous publications about collaboration, authorship practices, team policies, and credit attribution that will help to inform her presentation. She is a Professor at Michigan State University in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife.

Dr. Georgina Montgomery is a historian of science who studies the conditions under which the careers of women scientists and underrepresented groups are best able to flourish. Several of her publications involve women in science, and much of her teaching engages with issues of diversity and inclusion in STEM. Dr. Montgomery has also been a long-term advocate for equity in the academy, serving on her university’s Women’s Advisory Council to the Provost and her university’s Sexual Violence Advisory Committee to the President. Montgomery has also served as co-chair for the Women’s Caucus in her professional society, where she pushed for a climate survey of the society. She is an Associate Professor at Michigan State University with joint appointments in Lyman Briggs College and the Department of History.