I wrote a paper and have done the majority of the work, including the idea generation, research, and the writing. I am coauthoring with my advisors and a few other researchers. In the paper the authors will be alphabetically listed due to a cultural factor. The field is a branch of applied math where some people still do alphabetical ordering.
One advisor is in the UK and one is now in the US. Other authors are either from US or Europe.
Usually the corresponding author is the "boss". However, in certain countries, only the first or corresponding author's publications will be materially counted.
So I want to ask my advisor if I can be the corresponding author as otherwise I will be only the third author. The corresponding author is not confirmed yet.
Is it reasonable or polite? How can I initiate this talk without annoying an advisor?
A big thank to all of you for your suggestions. Two points I learnt:
- Corresponding is an extra work, or a burden
- Seniors usually do the job because they have a stable contact method
- Corresponding author knows the work better
So here is what I try to politely ask my advisor:
"Will you be happy to do me a favor? I wonder if it is possible for me to submit the paper and be the contact person, as being the contact person is a big burden and I can handle those chores which I probably know better. We both use gmail and gmail is stable enough. Although you contributed much more than me by providing some big pictures, I think a chance of being the contact person will be a meaningful training experience for me to grow-up."
Then I will agree with whatever he says.
Some related info: Here is the American Mathematical Society's 2004 "culture statement" on coauthorship. It says that more than 75% of coauthored math papers (including both pure math and some applied math fields) with at least one American author use alphabetical order, and that this percentage is over 90% in pure mathematics.
Might be Related: Uncommon order of authors names?
Is there an inflation in the number of authors per paper?
Can I add a baby as a co-author of a scientific paper, to protest against co-authors who haven't made any contribution?
Why do people sometimes put authors with equal contribution in non-alphabetical order?
Note: the field is not pure math. Since some of you raised a valid point that authorship status does not matter that much, here is a quote from a professor, in a related applied field that relies heavily on mathematical skills:
A follow-up on some of your concerns: I do work in signal and image processing. Some worthy young applying candidates from mathematics are disavantaged because of the poor knowledge of people in the neighboring field, and the first letter of their names, at the end of the alphabet. That is why these discussion are important, to fathom the different uses in science – Laurent Duval
I've heard about the same thing from the colleagues, too.