I am a graduate student working in life science.
I have started a computational project three years ago which is about to be done soon. There is a post doc who joined this project two years ago by my PI. No one talked about the authorship at that time, but I guess everyone assumed we would be co-first authors. This was my expectation, too.
He had another main project, which has not been going well. In the meantime, I've only focused on this computational project. He participated in important decision-making steps, but my contribution is much greater as I've run most of the data generation and analysis and written the manuscript. I believed my name is going to be the first.
When we talked about our authorship, he said that he understands that my contribution is greater, but he would want the first of the co-first authorship if possible. And I know, as a friend of his, this is not to make his contribution greater. He simply needs to give better impression with his publications for faculty positions because of this pervasive problem in the order of the names in the authorship.
However, as I have tried my best to make this publication as the first of my career, I am not so sure whether I should do this. At one time, I think if he really needed it, he could have contributed more and fairly claimed it. But at another, I start to think about how important this is going to be for his career as I still have time for more research but he doesn't.
I think I will have more power in the decision making. But whatever I choose, someone will get hurt. This makes me worried. I know some of you have already gone through similar situations. What would you suggest?