Perceptions and expectations of authorship: Towards development of an e-learning tool facilitating discussion and reflection between post-graduate supervisors and candidates


  • Michelle Picard Adelaide Graduate Centre, University of Adelaide
  • Kerry Wilkinson School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, University of Adelaide
  • Michelle Wirthensohn School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, University of Adelaide


This paper describes an online flexible learning project aimed at Higher Education by Research (HDR) Candidates and their supervisors to encourage discussion around issues of authorship. The project was developed in response to the new Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research which requires discussion between all participants in a project followed by a “written acknowledgment of authorship”. However, despite providing guidelines on the definitions of authorship and the responsibilities of authors and institutions, this document does not address the inherent unequal power relations when one of the authors is an HDR candidate and another a supervisor. In addition, more ambivalent issues such as order of authors which could potentially be a source of considerable conflict between supervisors and HDR candidates are not addressed. In order to engage fully in authorship discussions, HDR candidates require both knowledge of authorship protocols and the ability to negotiate within the supervision relationship. Since supervision is a particular type of pedagogy where the aim is the development of ‘competent autonomy’, the supervisor’s role is to model and foster negotiation skills along with ethical behaviour. In order to develop HDR candidate’s reflective practice and negotiation skills towards the attainment of this autonomy, an online questionnaire which ascertains the opinions of HDR candidates and their supervisors around various authorship issues and their reasons for their answers is proposed. Interactive worksheets to educate both supervisors and students on authorship protocols are also proposed. This paper describes the background to the project, along with an initial evaluation of the questionnaire content and pragmatic issues surrounding the creation of the online tool. 


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