My supervisor, a master student and I just drafted and submitted a paper. My supervisor is the corresponding author and I want to put him as the last author. But he wants second place and the master student last. I thought the last author is the default corresponding author. I am just curious how would people tell who is the corresponding author on the paper? Should I put some special mark on his name? And one of my friends was once put into the last author. Then he could sometimes receive emails who mistakenly recognize him as a professor. But he is just help run some experiments and contributed least to that paper.

  • What's your field? In some fields, last author carries no special meaning, in some it does. – lighthouse keeper Dec 10 '19 at 15:45
  • computer science – hidemyname Dec 10 '19 at 15:48
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    Usually in CS we just use alphabetical listing. Not a hard rule, but normally we aren't as insistent on a particular order. – Buffy Dec 10 '19 at 15:54
  • he...sometimes receive[s] emails who mistakenly recognize him as a professor: In some fields, the last author is the most senior, e.g., they run the lab. – user2768 Dec 10 '19 at 17:38
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    @Buffy Most theoretical subfields of CS use alphabetical order, but in more practical subfields of CS, alphabetical order is definitely not the norm, and first-authorship carries significant prestige. On the other hand, I've never heard of "corresponding author" meaning anything in CS except "the author who submitted the manuscript". – JeffE Dec 10 '19 at 19:32

In computer science, there is generally no straightforward connection between corresponding authorship and authorship order. There are even some fields, especially in Theoretical CS, where alphabetical ordering is the default. In other fields, seniority of authors (which is correlated to corresponding authorship, as the most senior author is usually most likely to keep his affiliation) can be a criterion for the ordering. But that's just one possible criterion among others (like, specifically, the amount of contribution).

In some conferences/journals, the corresponding author is explicitly highlighted in the author list (e.g., Springer LNCS series). In others (most IEEE/ACM-based ones), there is no explicit concept of corresponding author. The lead author (first author) can then be assumed to be the primary contact person.

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