The Researcher as a Consumer of Scientific Publications: How do name-ordering conventions affect inferences about contribution credits?
decision making, information processing, social norms, contribution credits, authorship
Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences
When researchers from different fields with different norms collaborate, the question arises of how nameordering
conventions are chosen and how they affect contribution credits. In this paper, we answer these
questions by studying two disciplines that exemplify the two cornerstones of name-ordering conventions: lexicographical
ordering (i.e., alphabetical ordering, endorsed in economics) and nonlexicographical ordering (i.e.,
ordering according to individual contributions, endorsed in psychology). Inferences about credits are unambiguous
in the latter arrangement but imperfect in the former, because alphabetical listing can reflect ordering
according to individual contributions by chance.
We contrast the fields of economics and psychology with marketing, a discipline heavily influenced by both.
Based on archival data, consisting of more than 38,000 journal articles, we show that the three fields have
different ordering practices. In two empirical studies with 351 faculty and graduate student participants from all
three disciplines, as well as in a computer simulation, we show that ordering practices systematically affect and
shape the allocation of perceived contributions and credit. Whereas strong disciplinary norms in economics and
psychology govern the allocation of contribution credits, a more heterogeneous picture emerges for marketing.
This lack of strong norms has detrimental effects in terms of assigned contribution credits.
Maciejovsky, B., Budescu, D.V., & Ariely, D. The researcher as a consumer of scientific publications: How do name ordering conventions affect inferences about contribution credits? Marketing Science, 2008, 28,589-598.