What is it called when someone who is not the author is mentioned on the paper as one of the authors?

Some postgraduate students have to put the name of their professors on their papers as one of the authors, with no substantial work being done by the mofo professors. That is so corrupt!

Some other researchers corruptly exchange authorship. That is, A in his paper corruptly mentions B's name next to his own name, providing that B does the same.

Is there any word/phrase for such a research corrupt? I came across "fake authorship" or "fake co-authorship" on the Internet. Is that the right name for it? Or there is a spacial word/phrase for it?

  • 1
    To avoid possible criticism over language use, I would edit your question and remove mofo. You might also want to remove the subjective that is so corrupt. Nov 24 '18 at 21:42
  • This is such a specific concept that it is highly unlikely that there is a single established word that would be generally recognized as having precisely that meaning. If there is a word for it, it is likely to be found in some jargon used by the academics and graduate students in the fields in which the phenomenon is sufficiently widespread to be noteworthy. The question would thus be better suited to the Academia Stack Exchange. Incidentally, if what one really wants to do is criticize this practice, one can do so without having a single word for it.
    – jsw29
    Nov 25 '18 at 2:30

In academia, there are several different names for this, some synonymous, some referring to slightly different situations. Washington University in St. Louis has good definitions (emphasis added):

Guest (honorary, courtesy, or prestige) authorship is defined as granting authorship out of appreciation or respect for an individual, or in the belief that expert standing of the guest will increase the likelihood of publication, credibility, or status of the work.

Gift authorship is credit, offered from a sense of obligation, tribute, or dependence, within the context of an anticipated benefit, to an individual who has not contributed to the work.

  • There are cases that do not fall in those two kinds, for example when co-authorship is exchanged.
    – Sasan
    Nov 24 '18 at 22:53
  • 1
    @Sasan That's a specific type of "gift authorship". See here.
    – Laurel
    Nov 24 '18 at 23:04

If somebody didn't write something, but it's claimed that they did, that's misattribution:


: an incorrect attribution (as for a piece of artwork)
// For decades this portrait had suffered one misattribution after another. More recently the artist had been listed as unknown.

1 : the act of attributing something
especially : the ascribing of a work (as of literature or art) to a particular author or artist

2 b : to reckon as made or originated in an indicated fashion
// attributed the invention to a Russian

Depending on school policy, misattributation in a scholastic setting may come with its own set of penalties, in similar fashion to plagiarism.

Somebody who doesn't want their name associated with something when it is can also take legal action in the same way they can if they do want their name associated with something when it isn't.

  • Misattribution can be accidental; the OP is looking for a word that conveys deliberateness.
    – jsw29
    Nov 25 '18 at 2:19

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