Policy Authorship Procedure

Authorship Procedure


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Intent

Authorship must be an honest reflection of contribution to research and must be assigned fairly and consistently with established disciplinary practice and must be communicated clearly and transparently between contributors to the research.

In compliance with the principles of the JCU Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (Research Code), this Procedure explains how to appropriately recognise and attribute the intellectual contributions of authors in research outputs. Some of the definitions and other text in this Procedure are reproduced from the National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Authorship Guide.

Scope

This procedure applies to all University research outputs, including scholarly articles, books and book chapters, conference abstracts and publications, web-based publications (including professional blogs) and any other form of authored research output that is made publicly available. This also includes authorship in other documents related to research, such as research proposals, grant applications, reports for funding bodies, tenders, patents and patent applications and any other research output where significant intellectual or scholarly contribution is required.

Definitions

Author - an individual who has made a significant intellectual contribution to a research and its output and agrees to be listed as an author

Corresponding Author - the author who is, as agreed by all co-authors, responsible for communication between publishers, managing communication between the co-authors and maintaining records of the authorship agreement

Research Output - A research output communicates or makes available the findings of research that may be in hardcopy, electronic or other form. Examples of research outputs include journal articles, book chapters, books, conference papers, reports, datasets, patents and patent applications, performances, videos and exhibitions.

Table of Contents

  1. Determining Who Qualifies to be An Author
  2. Evidence of Agreement of Authorship
  3. Accountabilities for the Research Output
  4. Acknowledgement of other contributions
  5. Resolution of Disputes over authorship
  6. Training and Education
  7. Potential Breaches of the Research Code

Introduction

Researchers must ensure that authors of research outputs are only those that meet the criteria of an author. It is a researcher’s responsibility to ensure that the contributions to the research output are appropriately recognised and all authors have agreed to be listed as an author, this includes contributions from student authors.

Procedure

1. Determining Who Qualifies to be An Author

Criteria for Authorship:

An author is a researcher who has made a significant intellectual or scholarly contribution to a research and its output and has agreed to be listed as an author and take responsibility for the research output.

A significant intellectual or scholarly contribution must include one, and should include a combination of two or more of the following:

  • conception and design of the project or output;
  • acquisition of research data where the acquisition has significant intellectual judgement, planning, design or input;
  • contribution of knowledge, where justified, including Indigenous knowledge;
  • analysis or interpretation of research data;
  • drafting significant parts of the research output or critically revising it so as to contribute to its interpretation.

In determining authorship, contributions of knowledge must be original contributions. Previously published contributions of knowledge must be fully cited in the research output but the author of this published contribution may not meet the definition of authorship for the relevant new publication. Sometimes the editor of a significant collective work or anthology of research papers has made contributions analogous to those of an author and, in such cases similar criteria may apply to “editor” as it does to “author. The term “editor” should only be applied to a person who has played a significant role in the intellectual shaping of a publication.

Therefore, authorship can only be attributed if a researcher has made a substantial intellectual contribution as defined above to a research output.

Criteria that does not meet Authorship:

Authorship must not be attributed to a researcher or other person that has not made a significant intellectual or scholarly contribution as described above. It must not be attributed on the basis of:

  • The provisions of funding, data, materials, infrastructure or access to equipment; or
  • The provision of routine technical support, technical advice or technical assistance; or
  • The position or profession of an individual, such as their role as the author’s supervisor or head of unit or College (“gift authorship”); or
  • Whether the contribution was paid or voluntary; or
  • The status of an individual who has not made a substantial intellectual contribution being such that it would elevate the esteem of the research (“guest authorship”).

2. Evidence of Agreement of Authorship

Authors on a research output must be aware of the requirements and responsibilities of authorship before any agreement on authorship is put in place. Discussions about the authorship of a research output must begin early in any collaboration and should cover:

  • Any discipline specific expectations;
  • Expectations of the individual authors;
  • Expectations of the collaboration;
  • Expected outcomes of the research; and
  • Role of each author and how this will be reflected in the research output, e.g. who will be the senior author, corresponding author, the order of the authors.

These discussions should be revisited as the research project evolves or if the collaboration changes, i.e. change in focus of the expected research outcomes, collaborators join who will make a significant intellectual or scholarly contribution, or collaborators leave the project.

Record of Agreement

The researcher and their work unit must retain evidence in a secure form of the discussions and agreement of authorship as below:

Step

Description

Retention

1

Evidence of discussions (e.g. emails) of authorship considerations from all authors.

Retained by the corresponding author and a copy provided to each author. Copy provided to work unit.

2

Written evidence of agreement of authorship from all authors. Written evidence can be obtained by email or by completion and signing of the Authorship Agreement Form. The Agreement of Authorship must include descriptions of:

  • Author order – consistent with any disciplinary  norms and   publication requirements
  • Senior author
  • Corresponding author
  • Contribution and accountabilities of the research output

Note: these arrangements must be in place prior to any peer review for a refereed publication or for public release of the research output. An author must not be included on a research output without their agreement.

Retained by corresponding author and a copy provided to each author. Copy provided to JCU work unit.

3

Written evidence of final approval of submission of the research output for publication or release from each author.

Retained by corresponding author and a copy provided to each author. Copy provided to JCU work unit.

4

The written agreement should be retained permanently.

Corresponding author and work unit to organise retention, e.g. JCU Corporate Information.

3. Accountabilities for the Research Output

Accuracy and Integrity

All authors listed on a research output have accountability for the whole research output, however, the responsibilities associated with this accountability are dependent upon the extent and type of contribution made. Each author is directly responsible for the accuracy and integrity of their contribution to the output and it should be identifiable which authors are responsible for which parts of the published work. If a researcher is unwilling to take responsibility for their contribution of a research output they should not be included as an author in that output.

The authorship team must be confident in the accuracy and integrity of the contributions of each author. If there are concerns about the accuracy and integrity of the output these must be raised with the authorship team before submission or publication of the output.  Authors are responsible for addressing any concerns that are raised following publication of the output, including providing evidence to demonstrate the accuracy and integrity of an author’s contribution and seeking such evidence from the other co-authors if necessary.  If an author is deceased (or cannot be contacted after reasonable attempts have been made), the co-authors must still have confidence in the accuracy and integrity of that author’s contribution. This may require consideration of the underlying data and methodology of the output.

Final Approval of the Research Output for Submission.

Each author must approve the final version of the research output to be submitted for publication or public release. This approval indicates that they agree to be accountable for the publication. The corresponding author must keep a written record that approval has been obtained from each author as per Section 2 above. If an author is deceased or after all reasonable efforts have failed to contact an author for approval to publish; submission can proceed provided there are no grounds to believe that the author would have objected to being included as an author on the publication.

4. Acknowledgement of other contributions

Researchers must ensure that all those who have contributed to the research are appropriately acknowledged. These acknowledged contributions to the research output do not meet authorship criteria, such as the contributions of technical officers, laboratory assistants, supervisors and participants. Funding bodies and organisations providing research infrastructure and facilities must also be acknowledged.

5. Resolution of Disputes over authorship

In the first instance, disputes over authorship involving a JCU researcher/s must be mediated by the relevant Associate Dean/s of Research or head of work unit. If the dispute is unable to be resolved satisfactorily, the matter may be escalated to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the relevant Division for review. Any review should consider:

  • if there is a power imbalance between the researchers, for example, a dispute between student and supervisor;
  • if researcher/s are unwilling to accept authorship and/or accountability for their contribution, obstruct progress of a research project or output or fail to cooperate with co-authors;
  • if researcher/s are from multiple institutions.

If the dispute involves allegations of a potential breach of the Research Code refer to Section 7 of this Procedure for advice.

6. Training and Education

Researchers have an obligation to engage in the training and education provided by JCU in regard to their responsibilities under the Research Code, including authorship.

7. Potential Breaches of the Research Code

Any concerns or complaints about potential breaches of the Research Code, including any allegation regarding authorship, must be managed in accordance with the JCU Procedure for Managing and Investigating Potential Breaches of the Research Code. Examples of breaches of the Code that are related to authorship include, but are not limited to:

  • Accepting credit or authorship on a research output where the researcher does not meet the criteria for authorship;
  • Failing to attribute authorship where a researcher meets the criteria for authorship;
  • Attributing authorship to a researcher without their consent;
  • Publishing a research output without the final approval of the attributed authors;
  • Failing to comply with an authorship agreement;
  • Making a false claim about authorship in a grant application.

Related policy instruments

JCU Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (Research Code)

Managing and Investigating Potential Breaches of the Research Code Procedure (to be developed)

Administration

NOTE:  Printed copies of this procedure are uncontrolled, and currency can only be assured at the time of printing.

Approval Details

Policy Sponsor

Provost

Version no

19-1

Date for next Major Review

18/11/2022

Revision History

Version

Approval date

Implementation date

Details

Author

19-1

15/11/2019

18/11/2019

Procedure established to implement the JCU Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.

Manager, Research Grants, Ethics and Integrity

Contact person:

Manager, Research Grants, Ethics and Integrity

Keywords:

Authorship, research, research output, responsible research, research integrity