senior author

ktm

Senior Member
I am not quite sure whether "senior author" in the sentence cited below means the oldest author or maybe the most important. Can anybody help me?
Wilson, Cann and Stoneking published the multi-author paper.
Thanks in advance.

"The late Allan Wilson, the senior author on the 1987 Cann paper, is acknowledged by all to have been an inspiration to those who followed him."
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    It should mean that Allan Wilson was the most important writer who contributed to the 1987 Cann Paper. Perhaps Allan Wilson supervised the work that other writers contributed to the paper. Perhaps he was the one who wrote most of the material. Whatever the case, Wilson was considered important.
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Usually, when a paper has more than one author, the senior author - the one who made the greatest contribution or, as owlman5 posted, is considered most important for some other reason - is listed first.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    A cursory Google search indicates that the term "senior author" is primarily used in academic papers.

    No, it has no relationship to the age of the writer in this context.
     

    Roberto69T

    New Member
    Italian
    I read often news about scientific research, I don't think senior author means the major contributor to the paper, most likely the most important author for academic achievements, in most cases I found cited a "senior author" and a "lead author", usually the senior author is a professor. I think that the lead author is the main contributor and the senior is something similar to a warranter, often the head of the lab where the research was conducted.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    This is a link to the paper. It is referred to as the "Cann paper" because Rebecca Cann is the first author listed (sometimes called "lead author"). Wilson is identified as the "senior author" because his name is listed last (or vice versa:)). This is the convention used by (nearly) everyone I knew in academc publishing, although the convention is not always followed. (In only one of my publications did I list myself first, like the researcher in that link - it was my group and the whole thing was my idea - the person who would otherwise have been "first author" was therefore listed last. Otherwise, papers published from my group had the main contributor as "lead author" and the my name was listed last. However, see below for changes since then).

    Citation: Mitochondrial DNA and human evolution. Rebecca L. Cann, Mark Stoneking & Allan C. Wilson
    Nature Volume 325, pages31–36 (1987) |
     
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    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    This is a link to the paper. It is referred to as the "Cann paper" because Rebecca Cann is the first author listed (sometimes called "lead author"). Wilson is the "senior author" because his name is listed last (or vice versa:)). This is the convention used by everyone I knew in academc publishing.

    Citation: Mitochondrial DNA and human evolution. Rebecca L. Cann, Mark Stoneking & Allan C. Wilson
    Nature Volume 325, pages31–36 (1987) |
    It's about time that you made it into this thread to clear up some of the confusion that I started, Julian.:D
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    But what does it "mean"?
    What does "what" mean - "senior author"?
    In other disciplines (besides mine - and the paper in question is in that field) there are other conventions. I think more recently, there are more aspects of disclosure* on who contributed what to a given paper, but that is more recent than my publishing career:) If the OP could tell us when the quote was written, it might help a little, but around that time, I suspect the writer used the convention above.

    *Check out the disclousures about half way down this link, fro a recent [aper in the same joural Nature. There are 17 authors and the corresponding author is in senior author position and "conceived and supervise the project"
     
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    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Cann and Stoneking were doctoral students of Wilson at the time, and Cann was apparently the principal figure in the discovery, for what it's worth.
     
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