This post was prompted by a discussion I had with a professor and this old blog post:http://blogs.uslhc.us/i-wrote-that
So, experimental HEP research papers...what up with that?
More specifically, I'm interested in the specifics involved in claiming authorship on one these major research projects. In HEP-TH or most non-HEP experimental groups there are only a few members so It's pretty straightforward to associate your work with a paper. With a 3000+ author paper, how exactly do you record your specific contributions? How much work do you have to do on a project before you feel justified in including the paper in your CV or is it standard procedure to include everything your name appears on in your CV? When applying to Post-doc, tenure track positions, or applying for anything else in which your research gets judged, is there some sort of protocol in which your advisor substantiates your contribution claims?
I'm actually an author on a major hep-ex experiment, so I can probably answer your questions. Essentially, these collaborations have author lists and unless a paper is controversial, every paper published by that collaboration has every person on the author list at the time listed as an author. Generally speaking, to be listed as an author, you need to contribute a certain amount of months or years to the experiment. By contributions, I mean service work (stuff that isn't necessarily analysis) that keeps the experiment running and recording data.
With regards to your specific contributions, most collaborations have internal notes that are released before the publication of an external paper. Those internal notes only have the names of the people who have worked specifically on that analysis. So, a potential employer, if they have access to that collaboration's internal files (or if they have a colleague that does), can double check the exact analyses you've worked on.
Putting the titles on your CV is another matter altogether. Some people will just list the specific papers that they have contributed significantly to. Others will list everything with their name on it. I really think it depends on the audience of who's reading the application. If it's other hep-ex people, just put the papers that you've worked on. If it's a more general physics audience or general academic audience in general, put everything if it isn't too unwieldy. The justification for the latter is that it takes so long to get stuff published in big hep-ex collaborations to begin with (we're talking 6 months to a year sometimes of internal stuff before the paper even gets to the arXiv).