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A couple of weeks ago Chemistry World ran a story on a cracking paper from a team in Korea. The researchers took inspiration from the way Egyptian stone masons cracked large stone blocks (they inserted a wedge into a hole and then soaked it with water, causing it to expand and crack the stone) to create a technique to make nanoscale cracks in a controlled manner. They did this by etching a guide of notches and grooves into a silicon substrate and then depositing silicon nitride on top. The notches and grooves create a pathway for cracks to propagate along and this technique could be very useful for electronic and microfluidic devices.
However, it now turns out that there’s an authorship dispute. The PhD student who said that she did much of the legwork didn’t get a note on the author list, according to this story in the Korea Herald (h/t @naturenano). The leader of the research group, Nam Koo-hyun at Ewha Womans University, Seoul, told the Herald that he made it clear from the start that the PhD student wouldn’t get a credit and that doing experimental work ‘does not qualify one for authorship’. I’m not sure how other PhD students would feel about this! Plenty of people have received a name check for far less than carrying out the experimental work. What do you think the cut off point should be for getting an author credit?