Health sciences and medical librarians conducting research and their experiences asking for co-authorship




Authorship, librarians, medical librarians, health science librarians, research ethics, intradisciplinary scholarship, negotiation, professional support


Objective: Health sciences librarians frequently engage in scholarly publication, both with other librarians undertaking intradisciplinary scholarship, and increasingly as members of research teams centered in other disciplines. We sought to assess the emotional and institutional context of authorship among health sciences librarians, including emotions experienced during authorship negotiation, the frequency with which authorship is denied, and the correlation of perceived support from supervisors and the research community with the number of publications produced. 

Methods: 342 medical and health sciences librarians took an online survey of 47 questions regarding emotions experienced when asking for authorship, denial of authorship, if they have been given authorship without asking, and the extent to which they felt supported to conduct research in their current job.

Results: Authorship negotiation creates varied and complex emotions among librarians. The emotions reported differed when negotiating authorship with librarian colleagues and when negotiating authorship with professionals in another field. Negative emotions were reported when asking either type of colleague for authorship. Respondents reported feeling mostly supported and encouraged by their supervisors, research communities, and workplaces. Nearly one quarter (24.4%) of respondents reported being denied authorship by colleagues outside of their departments. Perceived research appreciation and support by the research community is correlated with the total number of articles or publications produced by librarians.

Conclusions: Authorship negotiation among health sciences librarians involves complex and frequently negative emotions. Denial of authorship is frequently reported. Institutional and professional support appear to be critical to publication among health sciences librarians.

Author Biography

Jamie E. Bloss, Laupus Health Sciences Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, United States of America

Laupus Health Sciences Library 

Assistant professor



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Original Investigation