Read through the scenario below. Pay particular attention to the role you have been assigned.  

Jane Smith is a sociologist who leads a team of researchers and graduate students. She has devoted her career to studying how power relationships between health professionals influence the effectiveness of interprofessional collaboration and education (IPC and IPE).

Jane Smith meets Sherry Singh, a research associate, at a conference. Sherry Singh has considerable experience doing qualitative research with Joe Clark. Joe Clark is a physician and researcher who is also interested in IPE. Jane Smith and Sherry Singh decide to collaborate, once Sherry Singh checks with Joe Clark.

Paul Jones is a medical student who has recently approached Joe about helping out with some research; he's approaching residency and would like to gain experience and boost his chances of matching with his first choice. The four people mentioned so far - Jane Smith, Sherry Singh, Joe Clark and Paul Jones- all agree to work together.

Joe Clark has a great idea. The nurses in his clinical teaching unit have recently started to lead the orientation of medical students. He feels this has had profound effects on the team's interactions and believes this may be one way IPE can be effective in the face of power differentials.

Jane Smith is aware of some literature on this topic, but to be sure, consults her department's librarian, Frita Sampson. Frita Sampson, in close consultation with Sherry Singh, conducts a literature search. While there is a lot of literature on the topic, it is inconsistent and distributed across professions and disciplines. Sherry Singh and Frita Sampson take their literature findings to Jane Smith.  Together, the three of them conclude that prior to embarking on a new study they should first conduct a scoping review of the literature. The full team agrees. Working iteratively with the team, Frita Sampson refines the search strategy.

Sherry Singh and Paul Jones sort all the articles. Periodically, they check back in with Jane Smith and Joe Clark and based on these discussions they 'abstract' (extract) pertinent data from the articles. The sorting and abstracting take Sherry Singh and Paul Jones countless hours over the course of a year.

Early findings from the scoping review are presented by Sherry Singh at a full-team meeting. Jane Smith and Joe Clark suggest a re-framing, and Sherry Singh and Paul Jones revise in response.

Once the articles are abstracted, Jane Smith and Sherry Singh co-draft the article:

  • Introduction - Jane Smith (sociologist/scientist)
  • Methodology - Sherry Singh (research associate), with help from Frita Sampson (librarian)
  • Findings - Sherry. Singh (research associate)
  • Discussion - Jane Smith (sociologist/scientist) and Sherry. Singh (research associate)

Joe Clark provides feedback on the draft manuscript. Paul Jones, now very busy with residency program applications, does not have time to contribute to the writing process; he quickly reviews and approves for submission.

To cite this work: Baker L, Friesen F, Ng S. Authorship Ethics. An Online Supplement. [Internet]. 2018. Available from

Centre for Faculty Development, University of Toronto at St. Michael's Hospital.