[Rd] authorship and citation

Prof Brian Ripley ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Tue Oct 6 14:38:05 CEST 2015

On 06/10/2015 12:58, S Ellison wrote:

(quoting without attribution to the author, who would appear to be Uwe 

>> The former co-author contributed, so he is still author and probably copyright
>> holder and has to be listed among the authors, otherwise it would be a CRAN
>> policy violation ...
> It's a bit of a philosophical question right now, but at some point in a developing package's life - particularly one that starts small but is subsequently refactored in growth - there may be no code left that was contributed by the original developer.
> Is there a point at which the original developer should not stay on the author list?

Authorship is not just about code.  For example, there are functions in 
R which have been completely recoded, but the design and documentation 
remain.  Copyright can apply to designs and there is shading between 
inspiration and infringement.   And many of us believe that inspiration 
should be credited as a moral even if not a legal obligation.

As in "George Washington's axe" and similar myths, if all the parts are 
replaced it remains of the original design.

Brian D. Ripley,                  ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Emeritus Professor of Applied Statistics, University of Oxford
1 South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3TG, UK

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