Bibliometric counting methods need to be validated against perceived notions of authorship credit allocation, and standardized
by rejecting methods with poor fit or questionable ethical implications. Harmonic counting meets these concerns by exhibiting
a robust fit to previously published empirical data from medicine, psychology and chemistry, and by complying with three basic
ethical criteria for the equitable sharing of authorship credit. Harmonic counting can also incorporate additional byline
information about equal contribution, or the elevated status of a corresponding last author. By contrast, several previously
proposed counting schemes from the bibliometric literature including arithmetic, geometric and fractional counting, do not
fit the empirical data as well and do not consistently meet the ethical criteria. In conclusion, harmonic counting would seem
to provide unrivalled accuracy, fairness and flexibility to the long overdue task of standardizing bibliometric allocation
of publication and citation credit.
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