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Crediting the Community

Posted on July 24, 2007

Acknowledge the contributions of the minority community, advises Christopher L. Edwards (bio).


It is, I think, a part of working effectively with minority populations sometimes requires that we rethink the idea of publication credit and what kind of activity and contribution is worthy of publication credit. It is often the case that a pastor or a preacher or a significant community leader will get co-authorship, not because they had the scientific skill to write, but because they contributed significantly to the execution of the study.

Acknowledgement sections are important also. When a person’s contribution does not warrant co-authorship, acknowledgement in written form is exceptionally important. We often forget those basic ideals when interacting with people who are not scientists, who just want a pat on the back and want you to say, “Thank you,” and we forget those thank yous. We forget those acknowledgements. And they become extremely important.

Part of capital dissemination really is assuring that you can go back to that community for the second study and the third study. And that really implies that you have a relationship with groups, not just a one-time drive-by study with a group.

And so it’s important that we continue to communicate that we acknowledge their contributions and that we include them in written form as we disseminate.

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