In Academia author lists are source of endless contention. The current system is undeniably unfair.
Almost all of the credit go to the first and last author, while the middle authors often get forgotten. Who gets placed where on a paper is therefore subject to politics and fierce debates. Especially for early career researchers this can be a problem. There are some papers that let you list the individual authors’ contributions, but even that is somewhat opaque. That is why I very much liked the proposal summarized in an article by Devang Mehta: Move to a film credit style system instead.
In the future, authorship lists could look like this:
And your CV could look like this:
This would force people to actually look at an author’s contributions instead of their position on a piece of paper. Let’s make it happen!