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Ethical Authorship


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A brief guide to giving and receiving credit for intellectual contributions in scholarly publishing.

Further reading:

Albert, T. and E. Wagner. 2003. How to handle authorship disputes: a guide for new researchers. The COPE Report 2003. 32-34.

Brand, A., L. Allen, M. Altman, M. Hlava, J. Scott. 2015. Beyond authorship: attribution, contribution, collaboration, and credit. Learned Publishing 28: 151-155. doi:10.1087/20150211

Dworkin, M. n.d. Authorship. Teaching ethics for research, scholarship, and practice. Office of the Vice President of Research, University of Minnesota.

Fine, M. A. and L. A. Kurdek. 1993. Reflections on determining authorship credit and authorship order on faculty-student collaborations. American Psychologist 48(11): 1141-1147.

Weltzin, J. F., R. T. Belote, L. T. Williams, J. K. Keller, E. Cayenne Engel. 2006. Authorship in ecology: attribution, accountability, and responsibility. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 4(8): 435-441.

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Ethical Authorship

  1. 1. Ethical Authorship A brief guide to giving and receiving credit for intellectual contributions in scholarly publishing
  2. 2. Scholarly publishing can do better than this.
  3. 3. Authorship is contribution “in a meaningful and substantial way to intellectual content.” Yale University Office of the Provost, 2015
  4. 4. Sources for Guidance 1 Place of Publication Some journals or publishers have their own guidelines for how to assign authorship. Disciplines may also have unique guidelines for assigning authorship. 2 Codes of Ethics Organizations, such as universities or even individual departments within universities, may have rules or guidelines about assigning authorship. 3 Guidelines and Definitions If there is no standard to follow, authorship assignment is often left up to the contributors to the paper. There are best practices and recommendations for how to do this in an ethical manner.
  5. 5. Tips for Assigning Authorship 1. Read the instructions to authors provided by the publisher and/or places where researchers are affiliated. 2. Be transparent in the assignment of roles and order of authors. 3. Maintain open communication between co-researchers throughout the research and publication process. 4. Review recommended practices.
  6. 6. Recommended Practices 1 Committee on Publication Ethics Encourage culture of ethical authorship Discuss authorship when planning research Decide authorship before starting article 2 International Committee of Medical Journal Editors Significant involvement in study conception/design or data collection/analysis/interpretation + Involvement in drafting/revising manuscript + Approval of final manuscript + Responsibility for research accuracy and integrity = Authorship 3 CRediT Identification for specific contributions to published research. Fourteen roles with ability to define degree of contribution.
  7. 7. Questions?Email Alyson Gamble, Sciences Librarian