for itself, which means the lecturer-re-searcher must spend a great deal of his
or her time carrying out managerial duties such as making contact with companies, handling money, recruiting
staff, and supervising research teams.
Although the proportion of time
spent on administrative or managerial tasks, on research, and on teaching varies from country to country and
indeed from university to university, it
may be said that the university lecturer
has a threefold professional function:
he or she must be skilled in teaching
(and must be a good communicator
and educator), in researching, and in
In each discipline, research is carried out in different ways, but it would
be very difficult to picture it functioning
outside the context of a team. At least,
this is always the case with software engineering. Within teams, certain kinds
of researchers may be distinguished:
˲ Fellows and graduate or undergraduate students awarded a grant
who normally deal with routine activities (implementation, translation
when their teammates do not speak
English, machine installation and
maintenance, and so forth).
˲ Staff, which sometimes also includes graduate students hired in
the context of a research project, who
gather information from bibliograph-ical sources, propose new solutions to
existing problems, among other tasks.
˲ The team leader, who is usually
responsible for deciding what topics
the team will deal with and how they
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project it is usually
who does what.
this information is,
in the final result.
should be addressed. The team leader
is also the coordinator and promoter
of the various projects financing the
research undertaken by the team. In
other words, the team leader is ultimately responsible for the entire team.
This is the hierarchy, which may
include more ranks for larger groups,
governing the work of teams. The results of their work, good or bad, are
published in scientific journals or
communicated at conferences and it
is this dissemination that, as we mentioned earlier, allows a lecturer’s work
to be assessed.
Yet, within the hierarchy, whose
job is it to publish the results? And
who should appear as the author?
Should it be the actual writer of the
paper? Or should it be the person
who found the problem and decided
it would be a good starting point for
some research? Or should it be the
person who eventually found the solution? But, then, what about the person
who implemented it? And the person
responsible for the maintenance of
the machine used for the work? Who,
indeed, owns the intellectual property
of a research paper?
The solution the scientific community has been using involves allowing
for several proprietors, who are the
co-authors of the studies presented
at conferences or published in journals. 2–4 But this solution leaves at least
two major questions unanswered:
˲ In what order should the co-authors appear?
˲ What exactly has each of the people
appearing as co-authors contributed to
As for the first question, there is no
standard criterion. In some cases, the
team leader appears first, followed by
a staff member and lastly the fellow or
scholar (who has sometimes done the
most work). In other cases, the names
are ordered according to the relative
importance and scope of their contributions. This option introduces certain problems, for it is not always easy
to assess importance and scope. Other
teams use alphabetical order, which
does not seem to be the most objective criterion.
A further problem involved in finding a logical order for the names is that
it is not always easy to determine who
is responsible for a given solution as
the final result is usually the reward for
teamwork. Sometimes the credit for a
goal should not all go to the last person
to kick the ball.
a Role for each Person
We now consider the second question. In any research project it is usually quite clear who does what. This
information is, however, hidden in
the final result. We do not believe
there is any difficulty involved in
clearly specifying the extent to which
each researcher has contributed to
carrying out the study.
And this is where we began this
Viewpoint. By following the examples
of other fields—the cinema, in order to
retain the analogy—it would be easy to
give a simple answer to the two questions we have so far left unanswered.
When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded the
Oscar for the best foreign language
film in 1999 to All About My Mother, for
example, Pedro Almodóvar was not the
only winner of the golden statuette, for
a number were congratulated, as several had collaborated in the work and
all of them had a right to be recognized
for it, including Penélope Cruz, Cecilia Roth, and Agustín Almodóvar. Who
“presents the paper”? Who is the real
“author” of a film?
In fact, it does not occur to most
people to ask such a question. When
the film is over the credits begin to
roll, showing everyone from the “team
leader” to the “scholar,” with a clear indication of the way in which each one
has contributed to the making of the
film. There is, then, no doubt as to who