I arrived at the printer room this afternoon to collect my printing and I happened to notice that someone was yet to collect a printout of the gravitational waves paper that has been all over the scientific news the last few days/weeks. Of course, I was curious, so I had a peek.
It struck me that there was only one author... until I saw the asterisk indicating a full list of authors could be found at the end of the article.
There I found three full pages of authors. I have no intention of counting the exact number, but a quick estimate by word count suggests there are over 1000 authors from 133 institutions.
You always need to give credit where credit is due, that is a given. But to put it in context, there are at most 7 words of article per author. In fact, I can think of a number of problems coming from so many authors (like who do you contact if you have a question - the list is alphabetical and there doesn't appear to be a designated contact person).
What is the value of listing so many authors and why should (or shouldn't) it happen?
Update: Thanks everyone for the thoughtful answers. As much as I want to choose an answer, I honestly cannot decide between the two most upvoted, so I'm going to abstain from choosing one.