Most in the scientific community have heard stories, often involving junior researchers who have given their all in collaborations only to then feel unfairly relegated down the author lists of resulting publications. Sometimes they do not make the list at all, becoming no more than 'ghost authors'. Nature spoke to researchers about formative collaborations that descended into author disputes. Here, they outline their efforts and describe steps that researchers can take to mitigate author disputes and other tensions that can arise in collaborations. One suggestion is to have a scientific ‘pre-nup’, or team charter, spelling out roles, responsibilities and processes for conflict resolution in advance. Some interviewees requested anonymity because of concerns that sharing their stories could harm their careers.
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