L. P. Gaffney, P. A. Butler, M. Scheck, A. B. Hayes, F. Wenander, M. Albers, B. Bastin, C. Bauer, A. Blazhev, S. Bönig, N. Bree, J. Cederkäll, T. Chupp, D. Cline, T. E. Cocolios, T. Davinson, H. De Witte, J. Diriken, T. Grahn, A. Herzan, M. Huyse, D. G. Jenkins, D. T. Joss, N. Kesteloot, J. Konki, M. Kowalczyk, Th. Kröll, E. Kwan, R. Lutter, K. Moschner, P. Napiorkowski, J. Pakarinen, M. Pfeiffer, D. Radeck, P. Reiter, K. Reynders, S. V. Rigby, L. M. Robledo, M. Rudigier, S. Sambi, M. Seidlitz, B. Siebeck, T. Stora, P. Thoele, P. Van Duppen, M. J. Vermeulen, M. von Schmid, D. Voulot, N. Warr, K. Wimmer, K. Wrzosek-Lipska, C. Y. Wu and M. Zielinska
In particular, it splits into an initial, non-alphabetic component,
L. P. Gaffney, P. A. Butler, M. Scheck, A. B. Hayes, F. Wenander
and then an alphabetic list from M. Albers through M. Zielinska.
How should I interpret this authorship convention? What fields is it used in, and to what purpose? My initial reaction would be to assign to the initial component a ranking down in 'importance' more akin to the "first author did most of the work, middle authors supported, and last author sponsored and oversaw the work" convention used in fields with smaller collaborations (at least in physics), but that leaves the alphabetic component in an awkward position, so I'm not sure my interpretation is right.