A co-author could not retrospectively question the authorship order of a joint article (TENK 2021:9)

According to a RCR notification made by Professor A, grant-funded natural sciences researcher B was guilty of manipulating the authorship of an article in order to make themselves

the first author of a joint scientific article published by several authors. The documents showed that A had acted as B’s doctoral supervisor. In their request for a statement, A expressed dissatisfaction with the university’s decision that B was not guilty of a RCR violation.

In its statement, TENK affirmed that A had accepted that their name would be listed together with B’s name in the list of authors for the joint article. Therefore, A could not later on question B’s authorship nor the authorship order for the article in question. The university was considered to have investigated the matter in accordance with the TENK guidelines.

At the general level, TENK stated that the writers of joint articles that will be published in scientific journals should jointly agree on both the content of the article and which names should be included in the list of authors. According to the TENK guidelines, consensus on the matter must be reached no later than when the manuscript is sent for evaluation by the publication in question. Authorship must therefore be agreed upon in advance, and the responsibility for agreeing on the matter is primarily in the hands of the head of the research group in question or the researcher responsible for the project.