The rise of co-authorship in social work scholarship: A longitudinal study of collaboration and article quality, 1989-2013

Bryan G. Victor, David R. Hodge, Brian E. Perron, Michael G. Vaughn, Christopher P. Salas-Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


This study examined two issues critical to the social work research enterprise: (i) trends in authorship within disciplinary social work journals and (ii) the relationship between the number of authors and article quality, as measured via dissemination in highimpact journals. Data for the study were collected from original articles (N = 33,330) harvested from eighty disciplinary journals between 1989 and 2013. The results indicate the mean number of authors per article increased from 1.67 in 1989 to a high of 2.39 in 2013. The share of sole-authored articles dropped from roughly 60 per cent in the early 1990s to 35 per cent in 2013. Co-authorship became the norm in 2002, with the median number of authors increasing to two. Finally, the relationship between mean authorship per article and journal quality was significant (rs = 0.35). The results imply that tenure and promotion standards that privilege sole authorship may be outdated and that social workers seeking to create and disseminate scholarship in high-impact journals may benefit from developing collaborative networks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2201-2216
Number of pages16
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Dec 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Journal of HIV/AIDS & Social Services Journal of Psychosocial Oncology Research on Social Work Practice Health & Social Work Journal of Gerontological Social Work Journal of the Society for Social Work & Research Social Work in Health Care Social Work Research Child & Adolescent Social Work Journal Administration in Social Work Asian Social Work & Policy Review Australian Social Work British Journal of Social Work Canadian Social Work Review Child & Family Social Work Children & Schools China Journal of Social Work Contemporary Rural Social Work Ethics & Social Welfare European Journal of Social Work Families in Society Indian Journal of Social Work International Journal of Social Welfare International Social Work Journal of Baccalaureate Social Work Journal of Community Practice Journal of Ethnic & Cultural Diversity in Social Work Journal of Evidence-Based Social Work Journal of Family Social Work Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment Journal of Social Service Research Journal of Social Work Journal of Social Work Education Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions Journal of Social Work Values & Ethics Journal of Teaching in Social Work Journal of Technology in Human Services Maatskaplike Werk Practice: Social Work in Action Qualitative Social Work School Social Work Journal Social Development Issues Social Service Review Social Work Social Work Education Social Work in Mental Health Social Work in Public Health Social Work Review Social Work With Groups

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author 2016.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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