To co-author or not?

Wed, 13 Aug 2014 16:01:00 +1000

It seems that the younger an academic, the more likely they are to co-author their academic papers throughout their career, according to one of the United States' leading labour economists, Professor Daniel Hamermesh, who recently discussed the topic of co-authorship with economics staff and doctoral students at the Burwood Campus.

In a paper entitled "Age, Cohort and Authorship," Professor Hamermesh outlined a range of findings from a co-authorship study that examined the habits of 83 of the world’s leading labour economists. These habits, he argued, could be taken as representative of academics in many disciplines.

His research showed that, today, academics publish for longer spans of their life, and more academics now co-author papers, particularly younger academics, with a trend towards more co-authors per paper today than in the past.

Age, Cohort and Co-Authorship presentation given to Deakin University by Professor Hamermesh.

Causes of these trends could be attributed to a variety of factors, he suggested, including an aging population, the influence of technology, and changing teaching styles within academic institutions.

The trends have raised issues such as: the need to have clear guidelines for accurate attribution of authorship; the need to consider the effects of co-authorship on relationships between senior and junior academics; and the need to consider the effect of greater competition for journal space on younger academics.

Professor Chris Doucouliagos, Deputy Director of Deakin's Centre for Economics and Financial Econometrics Research (CEFER), said that the seminar provided students with a rare opportunity to interact with one of the world’s most esteemed labour economists.

"Professor Hamermesh is internationally recognised for asking unorthodox questions that have broadened our understanding of economics and society in general," he said.

Professor Hamermesh is Sue Killam Professor in the Foundations of Economics at the University of Texas, Austin. He has published nearly 100 refereed articles in major economics journals and has published several influential books, such as "Labour Demand" and "Beauty Pays." His main areas of research include: time use; labour demand; discrimination; academic labour markets; the advantages of beauty; and the economics of sleep.


Deakin's Dr Cahit Guven and Professor Daniel Hamermesh.
Deakin's Dr Cahit Guven and Professor Daniel Hamermesh.
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  • “Professor Hamermesh is internationally recognised for asking unorthodox questions that have broadened our understanding of economics and society in general.”
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20th August 2012