[Comment on “AGU Authorship Policy” and “More on AGU Authorship Policy”] A response from the establishment


  • Thomas J. Birmingham


Recent letters in Forum by Ron Zwickl (Eos, April 15, 1986, p. 186) and C. T. Russell (Eos, July 1, 1986, p. 545) have addressed the proliferation of authors on papers in AGU journals. I assume that the authors have at least the Journal of Geophysical Research-Space Physics in mind, as both are frequent contributors to our journal (and highly valued referees as well!).

There is no doubt in my mind that marginal participants sometimes end up in the bylines of papers we publish. In a few instances, I do not believe that all authors even read the final manuscript: if they did, they would exercise better quality control over the submitted product. I do not agree, however, that AGU should be responsible for determining authorship, even in a tangential way: its concern, manifest through its editors, should be that each article published represents a significant new contribution to the discipline. To me as editor, it's what comes after the byline that matters!