Imprimir Republish


Army of authors

LHC: teams operating two detectors have published a paper with a record number of authors

MAXIMILIEN BRICE /CERNLHC: teams operating two detectors have published a paper with a record number of authorsMAXIMILIEN BRICE /CERN

An article signed by 5,154 researchers has broken the record for number of authors listed on a single scientific paper. Of the 33 pages of the article, published in the May 2015 issue of the journal Physical Review Letters, nine are devoted to the research findings and the bibliography. The other 24 pages list the names of the authors and their institutions. This is the first paper published by the teams that operate the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) and the ATLAS, two particle detectors at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s largest particle accelerator. The researchers obtained a more precise estimate of the mass of the Higgs boson, which was discovered in 2012, indicating that it is approximately 0.25% smaller than previously estimated. The previous record was set by an article published by 3,000 researchers at the LHC in 2008. While the concept of “hyperauthorship” is well-accepted among physicists, it causes unease in other fields of science. The May 2015 publication of an article on the genome of the Drosophila fruit fly that lists 1,014 authors generated a discussion on the meaning of authorship of a paper of this kind. “Could everyone have made enough of a contribution to be credited as an author?” wondered neuroethologist Zen Faulkes of the University of Texas. Geneticist Sarah Elgin, a professor at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, and senior author of the paper—which was published in the journal G3—defended multiauthorship. “Putting together the efforts of many people allows you to do good projects,” she told the journal Nature.