Authorship Requirements and Conflict of Interest
Authorship provides credit and carries accountability for a contribution to a scholarly work product. It is a key component of the ethical conduct of research.
The criteria for authorship vary across disciplines and journals. However, “ghost-writing” is not acceptable. Individuals who provide substantial contributions to a study should be identified as authors or acknowledged in the publication.
The authorship of scientific, scholarly and artistic work carries important privileges and responsibilities. It is essential that researchers respect and adhere to the principles, customs and practices of their own disciplines in determining who should be listed as authors.
Authorship credits are awarded to those individuals who contribute in substantive ways to the research, writing and editing of a paper. The level and nature of contributions should be accurately described in the paper. In some cases, a contribution may be recognized in the form of an acknowledgment rather than as co-authorship.
The principal investigator, lead scholar or artist of a collaborative project is responsible for designing an ethical and transparent approach to authorship. It is important that this approach is communicated to all involved, including students and staff. Any change to the list of authors or contributors after initial submission must be agreed by all and clearly explained. This includes additions, deletions or a change in order.
While guidelines and principles for authorship vary widely across academic disciplines, institutions, journals, and cultures, the basic principle is that authors should be those who have made a significant contribution to research or scholarship, who agree to share responsibility and accountability for the work, and who agree to let their names appear on the final published version. The lead author, who typically also serves as corresponding author, is responsible for the integrity of the paper and is generally accountable for ensuring that all authors meet these minimum standards.
Individuals who do not meet the criteria for authorship should be acknowledged in an ‘Acknowledgments’ section, such as those who acquired funding, provided general supervision or administrative support, routine technical services, referred patients or participants, provided valuable reagents or specimens, or revised a draft manuscript. These individuals should have been notified and must have agreed to be included in the acknowledgements section of the manuscript. Individuals who do not meet the authorship criteria should not be offered co-authorship.
Authorship provides credit to an individual’s contribution to a research study and carries with it accountability. It can also have important financial and career implications for researchers, particularly in the context of multi-authored papers.
While some scholars suggest that the increasing multi-authorship in scientific publications is a result of an economic incentive to increase citations and h
Discussions about who should be credited as an author should take place early and with regularity throughout the course of any research project. It is the responsibility of the project leader to explain clearly what a substantial contribution means and how this should be judged. This will help to prevent ego issues and the granting of authorship to individuals who have not contributed to any aspect of the research process.
Conflict of Interest
While discussions about conflict of interest often focus on financial interests, there are other concerns that can also compromise the responsible conduct of science. For example, a conflict of interest can occur when you or your coauthors have social or personal interests that may influence how you do research. It is important to disclose these potential conflicts so that they can be weighed against your research objectives in the decision-making process.
Disputes over authorship can slow down research and damage relationships between researchers. To avoid these problems, it is advisable to set clear criteria for who should be an author. Honorary, gift or ghost authorship should be avoided, and all authors must declare any potential conflicts of interest. It is also a good idea to review these rules regularly, especially when new collaborators join the team. Disclosing potential conflicts of interest is a key part of scientific integrity, and it helps readers to evaluate the impartiality of your work.