There's something I've never really understood about authorship order for papers.
- If the contributions of the authors are more or less equal, they are often listed alphabetically, as is standard
- Sometimes if an author had outsized contributions, they are listed as the first author, and so on for second, third, etc. authors.
It means that if you see the authors as A,B,C, there's no way of knowing whether A had outsized contributions, or if the order was just following the typical alphabetical order.
How do people in academia treat this? I'm in CS/Math if this is one of those things that differs wildly by field. I have an A name so I will be "first author" on most papers I write that just list alphabetically. I'm thinking that someone looking cynically at my publications can assume I'm always at the front for having an A name and never for contributions. On the other hand, someone looking generously can assume I'm at the front for always being the significant author.