“It’s not a simple thing, co-publishing”: challenges of co-authorship between supervisors and students in South African higher educational contexts
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Knowledge production in South Africa remains framed by the legacies of apartheid. Developing emerging authors and local knowledges through co-authorship between supervisors and post graduate students is an important strategy aimed at challenging these legacies. This paper draws on in-depth interviews with students and supervisors to explore their experiences of co-authorship. Findings indicate that while insisting that co-authoring has value, several students also note their discomfort with elements of the process. While insisting students’ work be disseminated, and expressing willingness to engage in the mentoring that this requires, supervisors also articulate discomfort with processes offering opportunities for personal career development. Given increasing emphasis on co-authorship we suggest the power inequalities expressed through the supervisor/student relationship be made more transparent. Knowledge production through co-authorship is best served by collaborations between authors who are more equally empowered and who are more critically aware of the challenges such collaborations are likely to present.