Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools


You are here: Home / News / Ginger Zhe Jin Examines the Risk of Working With Eminent Co-Authors

Ginger Zhe Jin Examines the Risk of Working With Eminent Co-Authors

Blame for scientific misconduct falls more heavily on less well-known co-authors

Business Insider Australia highlighted the work of University of Maryland economist Ginger Zhe Jin in a recent article about the risks and benefits of working on projects with partners who have a well-established reputation for brilliance in the field. Many people assume that working with a “rock star” will give them an opportunity to learn something valuable, or allow them to bask in reflected glory. But Dr. Jin’s recent working paper exposes the risks of this strategy.

Dr. Jin looked at papers in major scientific journals that had been retracted, meaning that the findings had been called into serious question. She estimated the effect of the retracted articles on scientists’ professional reputations by measuring the frequency with which other scientists cited their work, both before and after the incident. Big-name scientists with well-established reputations suffered very little as a result of retracted articles, but citations for their less well-known co-authors dropped off considerably. In other words, less eminent co-authors bore a heavier burden of blame when things went wrong.

Dr. Jin’s work suggests that a reputation for success has a protective effect, even in the face of a serious failure, but often comes at the expense of partners who have less established reputations.

Read the article

Read Dr. Jin’s working paper

Filed under: ,