First/Last Author search


This is definitely not a priority suggestion, but another cool search feature to have that I’ve used quite a bit is the 1st/last author search, for ex. papers with Burge as last author (as opposed to just any author).

I find this useful because some very prolific authors seem to be on every paper (and consortium) under the sun, so it can take some time to find that one paper out of their lab that identified a particular event - and speed makes a difference when searching with your PI looking over your shoulder.



I guess the ideal thing would be to include the information about the author position in the search ranking. Papers where the author is first or last rank higher than papers where the author is in the middle.

For technical reasons, we can’t include hints like that in our search. But in the long term we might switch our search to a different technology where we can do all the fancy stuff like that.

I definitely understand the use case, you seem to be from the life sciences where papers have many authors and author positions are very important :wink:

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The use case is a bit more widely applicable, I’d say: I often remember who wrote a paper but not the title. In our field (planetary science), the person who writes the paper becomes first author, simple as that, but shouldn’t this be true for most other fields?
Now, that author might also be co-author on many other papers. Even if this were only the case for a set of maximal 3 authors, a search that does not support “FirstAuthor” filtering gives me many more results than a search that filters out all results where the author’s name is not on the first place.
The fact that this is broken for many years in the Papers app despite several requests for fixing it drove me to the search for alternatives (among many other probs), and I’m a bit bummed that this doesn’t work on paperpile yet. :confused:

I also end up sifting through many results, or having to think of what other information I could add into the search to narrow the result. It doesn’t stop me from using Paperpile, but almost on a daily basis, i’m slightly annoyed and surprised this filter doesn’t exist.

I can see, of course, that it doesn’t fit into the current way searches and filters are done in Paperpile. One suggestion is to just assume that the first word in the search (or the first match by author in the search) is the first author, and then just have a new standard filter that filters only those entries whose first author matches. But even this might require an overhaul of the current search algorithm.

Another not-so-uncommon use case: Sometimes I want to find all the papers in my library in which that particular author has done the main work and is first author.