Me and a professor published a paper where he was first author since he did most of the work. Today, we have received a discussion and we would like to reply. I'll be the one in charge of the reply, and I was wondering if I could be first author of the reply. What are your thoughts ?

  • 2
    What's a "discussion"? I don't think most people here will be familiar with the term. Oct 24, 2017 at 13:23
  • When you publish a paper, usually, there is some time where the editor welcomes discussions of the paper (three to six months). These discussions are peer reviewed, and sent to the original authors who chose whether or not to reply. They are usually titled: discussion of "title of the original paper".
    – you-slamm
    Oct 24, 2017 at 13:37
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    Why not look at other discussions in that same journal, and see if the authors ever change their order in their responses?
    – GEdgar
    Oct 24, 2017 at 14:44
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    What does your professor coauthor think? I have no direct experience here -- in my field (pure mathematics) we have strictly alphabetical author order and no discussion papers -- but for what little it's worth, reversing the author order at this point looks a bit distracting to me. Will first authorship of a response to a discussion really benefit you? Is there a substantial intellectual contribution involved? Unless the answers are both "yes," I would recommend preserving the order. Oct 24, 2017 at 15:38
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    In my area (materials science), the style would be "Comment on XYZ", where XYZ is the paper, and "Response by A. Author, B. Author" where the author order is the same as in the original paper.
    – Jon Custer
    Oct 24, 2017 at 16:06

1 Answer 1


This sounds like a question best settled by first reviewing how common changing the authorship order is in the relevant journal/field and then having a conversation with your professor. Ultimately, it is up to the two of you to decide.

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