On the breeding of coauthors: just call me Al

Gordon B Parker
Med J Aust 2007; 187 (11): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2007.tb01459.x
Published online: 3 December 2007

Riding on the tail of the coauthorship explosion

Once upon a time, well-bred scientists sucked on the end of a quill and produced magnum opuses with single-author bylines, such as Charles Darwin’s The origin of species. Following the model of other creative domains (eg, Rodgers and Hammerstein for musicals, Gilbert and Sullivan for operettas, and Galton and Simpson for television series), scientists moved to byline couplings (eg, the double-helix twist of Crick and Watson).

  • Gordon B Parker

  • School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, and Black Dog Institute, Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney, NSW.



My sincere thanks to the “et al” team of Heather Brotchie, Kerrie Eyers and Matthew Hyett for manuscript assistance.

Competing interests:

The chance of being awarded a competitive research grant is increasingly tied to “performance criteria”, with publication counts often a key focus. To reduce my performance anxiety, I am changing my name to “et al” and propose to copyright myself when I write copy. I recognise, however, that no man is an island and that there is a need for generativity — if not al-truism. So, if you feel a need for coauthors to add gravitas to your projected publication, I (et al) could be your man. As the Paul Simon song goes, “You can call me Al”.


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