I've noticed that some publication venues add the degree type links to the author name, like MS, PhD, MBA or MD. What's the point? (example)

  • 4
    I don't know why, but I at least find it obnoxious and problematically elitist.
    – jakebeal
    Jul 25 '15 at 20:04
  • 2
    It should be noted that listing names with the degree type in all professional contexts (business cards, presentations, letters, documents, ...) is completely normal and expected in some cultures. Maybe the respective publication venues were strongly influenced by someone from such a culture, who was either unaware of different customs in English-speaking cultures, or who did not see a point in omitting that information and thus kept requiring it in the styleguide for publications. Jul 25 '15 at 20:49

It depends completely on the journal's editorial criteria. Some journals will expect that the degrees are included (see JAMA) and some will not (see Research in the Teaching of English). Professional ego will not come into it -- the journal will want to maintain uniformity from article to article.

Academic cultures differ as to whether degrees are typically appended to names. In the academic culture in which I spent 30 years of my professional life, use of the "Ph.D." was seen as unnecessary -- if one identified oneself as "Associate Professor of English" or "Professor of English," the Ph.D. was assumed.

  • 1
    I thought English was one of those fields where it was common for professors to only have an MA.
    – StrongBad
    Jul 26 '15 at 11:04
  • While it's possible that lecturers or part-time instructors will have an M.A. (and will get teaching experience while completing the degree), I don't know of anyone on the tenure-track line in English, in all my years at a university, that didn't have a Ph.D. You may be thinking of those who teach creative writing, which at my university was a separate department -- many professors in Creative Writing will have an MFA, a terminal degree in a creative field, equivalent to the Ph.D. in other fields.
    – ewormuth
    Jul 26 '15 at 15:50
  • P.S. Just to clarify, in the U.S., a lecturer is generally a part-time instructor.
    – ewormuth
    Jul 26 '15 at 16:36

I cannot generalize, based on your single-document example. There might be various reasons, such as publication outlet's requirements or authors' professional ego (see egocentrism and/or egotism). However, in that particular case, it can be argued that the degree attribution has been done to clarify that some of the authors are not Ph.D. holders. Not that it matters much (or should matter much or at all, that is), but, perhaps, the authors wanted to be more precise in attribution in order to prevent confusion due to implied assumption that all authors are doctoral degree holders.

  • 2
    All of this is wildly speculative and the bit about egocentrism, judgmental.
    – Cape Code
    Jul 25 '15 at 22:19
  • @CapeCode: What is speculative about listing some potential reasons? I have not argued any definitiveness about any of those. As far as egocentrism being a potential factor, do you believe that such argument can be referred to as being judgemental? Moreover, the OP haven't asked about existing research on the topic, but about people's opinions, so I have offered mine. Thus, it IMHO cannot be speculative by definition. Jul 26 '15 at 0:12

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