What You Need to Know About Writing with Co-Authors

Draft the Contributor Statement First
When you are preparing to ask other people to contribute to your paper, the first step you might want to take is to draft the contributor statement that you are going to use. You will want to do this before asking people to help write your paper. This will help you later on when you will need to state what each person is responsible for and why they were needed.
An example of this would be: Author A is involved to inform you on the writing, design, and study in this project. Author B will provide the statistical analysis. Authors C, D, and E will provide the background information that was necessary to understand the differences in countries X, Y, and Z. Author F is an expert in the topic that you have chosen for your paper.
The contributor statement has to be placed in your project’s manuscript before you submit it. If you are in a circumstance where the statement is not required, you might have to have one for the editors. They may need it to make the list of co-authors for the final product.
Dealing with Comments
When so many are working on a project, there will be some concerns about how the project is being written. Many co-authors will tell you their main concerns where others will write very detailed comments that voice every concern they have. When you are the lead author, you have two ways that you can handle these that will depend on if you agree with their point or you disagree with it. You can take the concern and make the changes that would be necessary to the paper to make them happy. The other option is to not make the change that they are suggesting. If you choose not to make the change, you should be up front and tell them why you are not making the change. Make sure that you do not ignore an author. If you feel it is necessary, you can include their comments and your reasons if you feel that your viewers might have the same questions.
Addressing Similar Comments
Once you have processed all of the main comments, you will find that you are left with many smaller comments. Where the smaller comments are concerned, you can accept or reject at what seems right to you. You will find, however, that more than one co-author may find something and comment on it. If you see that you have more than one co-author mentioning something, you need to treat it as if it was a main comment.
Make Sure You Are on Time
It is easy to lose track of time while working on a project with many co-authors. Writing a paper should not be a process that takes longer than it should. Make sure that you set deadlines for commenting so that you get your editing done effectively. Make sure that you send out reminders for everyone each day so that there is not any confusion on the deadline. This way you will know that you did everything that you could to make sure that they had ample warning that it needed to be turned in. Be understanding if they could not turn it in on time although you do have the option of choosing to not include them in the paper.
Knowing the Journal’s Policy
Certain journals place limits on the number of co-authors a paper can have. If you find that you are over the limit, you can submit the reason that you needed more co-authors than they allowed. An example of an acceptable reason would be the comparison of several countries in your paper.
Stay Positive
You do not want to fall into the trap of being negative. If the difficulties of writing with so many people is getting to you, take a break and come back. You will learn so much more when you work with people like this. This will lead to a better paper that you will be proud of. You will be better prepared for the reviewer comments that will be coming back from the editor. Another benefit to having more than one co-author is that they will not always agree on certain points. This will force you to think for yourself instead of following the crowd. It will push you to be a better researcher that will ask questions about what they are writing. Writing with co-authors will also help you to be more attentive to deadlines.