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New Algorithm Gives Credit Where Credit Is Due

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Northeastern University professor Albert-Lszl Barabsi (shown) co-authored a paper with visiting scholar Hua-Wei Shen that presented a new algorithm to determine how credit should be allocated among multiple authors of a research paper.

A newly released algorithm could help determine the optimal allocation of credit for multiple authors of a scientific paper.

Credit: Brooks Canaday

An algorithm developed at Northeastern University's Center for Complex Network Research (CCNR) could help determine how to properly allocate credit for science papers that have multiple authors.

Chinese Academy of Sciences professor Hua-Wei Shen developed the algorithm and a Northeastern team used it to build a credit allocation system that focuses on how often a paper is cited with the other papers published by a paper's co-authors, capturing an author's additional contributions to the field.

"The idea behind this is that based on an author's previous line of work, people have a perception of where the credit lies," says CCNR director Albert-Laszlo Barabasi. "And the algorithm's goal is simply to extract that perception."

The team examined 63 Nobel prize-winning papers related to physics, chemistry, and medicine, and the system found the authors deserving the most credit corresponded to the Nobel laureate in 81 percent of the papers. The algorithm also showed that physicist Tom Kibble, who wrote a research paper on the Higgs boson theory in 1964, should have received the same amount of credit as Nobel prize winners Peter Higgs and Francois Englert.

From Northeastern University News
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Abstracts Copyright © 2014 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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