Author Ordering Policy

In academia, author order varies across fields, from alphabetical in cryptography to other criteria. This affects aspects like special talent visa applications. The Blockchain Technology Laboratory and the ZK Lab adopt an authorship policy dividing authors into junior and senior sets listed alphabetically within each. For details, read below.

Typically, in cryptography and theoretical computer science, author order in papers is given alphabetically. In other scientific areas, other policies are common, frequently placing as the first author the one who contributed most of the writing or most of the experiments, see e.g., [1].  We see the advantage of the former approach primarily in its predictability and emphasis on author equality, and of the latter in its potential to recognise and highlight junior authors' contributions. Our proposal aims at a Goldilocks middle ground between both approaches, especially for junior researchers who deal with issues such as the following.

Pursuing an academic career, especially at the onset, requires frequently moving between different countries and visiting many countries for participation in conferences and workshops. Depending on their country of origin, different researchers experience a wide degree of disparity in terms of how difficult it is to gain travel authorizations. Acquiring a "special talent" visa in a certain country can be an important step in one academic's early career path, enabling more opportunities for travel and employment. Such special talent visas are typically based on academic achievement, and authorship order is frequently used in assessing the strength of such applications.

To accommodate the above considerations, our research group, the Blockchain Technology Laboratory, and the ZK Lab will adopt the following ordering policy as a compromise between the norms in the fields of Cryptography and Theoretical Computer Science and other scientific disciplines.

  •  Each paper’s set of authors will be divided into a junior set and a senior set.  
  •  Junior authors will be listed first, in alphabetical order.    
  •  Senior authors will be listed afterwards, also in alphabetical order.  
  •  The division of authors into junior and senior will be decided on a case-by-case basis and will be explained in a footnote along with a link to this policy page in each paper. In terms of work contributed, it is understood that all authors contribute to the paper – albeit this may be in different ways; for instance, junior authors may contribute more in terms of writing or data collection while senior authors contribute more in terms of supervision and direction.

NB: This is an opt-in policy to be followed when all authors see it as valuable and agree on its implementation.