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Invited Commentary: What Can We Infer from Author Order in Epidemiology?


Savitz, David A. (1999). Invited Commentary: What Can We Infer from Author Order in Epidemiology?. American Journal of Epidemiology, 149(5), 401-403.


In a thoughtful Journal essay on molecular epidemiology, Ambrosone and Kadlubar (1) offered a number of useful recommendations for enhancing communication between laboratory scientists and epidemiologists. Ironically, one suggestion reveals the authors' grounding in a firmly established tradition of laboratory science: "Authorship should be discussed and agreed upon at the beginning of a collaboration. One approach taken by an interdisciplinary research group is an agreement that when an individual from one group is first author, a researcher from the other group will be last author, with a footnote that the project was a collaborative effort with equal input from both groups" (1, pp. 916-17). In this case, information about the nature of the collaboration is encrypted in the sequence of authors, obvious to some readers and certain to be misunderstood by others.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

American Journal of Epidemiology


Savitz, David A.