What does acting as a "co-author" entail, and how common is it for first year undergraduate students to be added as co-authors to a paper being prepared by a professor?

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    Please ask one question per post. You can edit this post to remove one sub-question, then post it as a new question. – ff524 Dec 2 '14 at 20:23
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    Voting to close because the question is too broad to be particularly answerable. I think this is far from off-topic just because the author happens not to be a graduate student. – Fomite Dec 3 '14 at 2:50

Almost any published work has one or more people listed as authors: they are those people who made a significant contribution to the creation of the work. If there is more than one author, they are called co-authors, and one might say they co-authored the work. Usage like "become co-authored into a paper" would be non-standard and perhaps non-grammatical; one would instead say that a person became a co-author of the paper (typically for having contributed to it in a significant way).

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