Position on Publication Practices and Responsible Authorship

 

 

Writing papers and reviewing the manuscripts and grant applications of others are vital activities for a researcher and academic. Getting appropriate credit and taking responsibility for work are key issues in authorship, and discussion of the allocation of roles in a future manuscript are important as students, faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and others begin and continue a project. Misunderstandings can arise, but resources are available to help resolve them. Maintaining the confidentiality of material under review in a manuscript and acknowledging potential conflicts of interest are also important in the peer-review process.

 

Authorship of materials for presentation to professional groups or for publication is linked not only to credit, but also to accountability. While conventions differ among disciplines about the order and ranking of authors and about in which situations "credit" or "thanks" should be given rather than authorship, the connection between praise and blame can provide a more universal guideline for when authorship is deserved. An individual should be included in the list of authors if he or she can be appropriately praised or blamed for a significant segment of included material; depending on the complexity of the collaboration that produced the report, authorship may indicate responsibility for a disciplinary-specific aspect rather than for the whole piece. "A general rule is that an author must have participated sufficiently in the work to take responsibility for its content and vouch for its validity."