Gang-Writing

“What is the record for the maximum number of authors/co-authors on a published paper?” asks investigator Brian G. Williams, Ph.D., P.E., of Idaho State University, in Pocatello, Idaho. He continues:

A graduate student of mine found a paper: “STAR Detector Overview,” K.H. Ackermann, et. al., Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research A, vol. 499, no. 4, 2003, pp. 624-32. (See a copy of the report here.)

There are 423 authors from 33 organizations!

We are sorry to have to disappoint investigator Williams. 423 is impressive. But it is barely uncommon.

The biggest group we know about is a gang of approximately 976 co-authors who published a report in the New England Journal of Medicine. They were awarded the 1993 Ig Nobel Literature Prize, for publishing a paper that has 100 times more authors than pages. See details here.

If there is a larger group of co-authors — for a formal scientific report, that is — and you know about it, please send us details.