A starting point for a discussion of authorship may be the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) guidelines. In 1978, a group that is small of of general medical journals met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became referred to as Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the National Library of Medicine, were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved to the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, which meets annually. The ICMJE gradually has broadened its concerns to include ethical principles related to publication in biomedical journals. Through the years, ICMJE has issued updated versions of exactly what are called Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals as well as other statements relating to editorial policy. The most recent update was in November 2003. Approximately 500 biomedical journals subscribe towards the guidelines.
According to the ICMJE guidelines:
The Schцn Case: Taking responsibility for other individuals’ work
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- Authorship credit should always be centered on 1) substantial contributions to conception and design, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of information; 2) drafting the content or revising it critically for important intellectual content; and 3) final approval for the version to be published. Authors should meet conditions 1, 2, and 3.
- When a sizable, multi-center group has conducted the task, the group should identify the people who accept direct responsibility for the manuscript. These people should fully meet the requirements for authorship defined above and editors will ask these individuals to accomplish author that is journal-specific conflict of great interest disclosure forms. When submitting a bunch author manuscript, the author that is corresponding clearly indicate the most well-liked citation and should clearly identify all individual authors plus the group name. Journals will generally list other members of the combined group in the acknowledgements. The National Library of Medicine indexes the combined group name plus the names of individuals the group has recognized as being directly responsible for the manuscript.
- Acquisition of funding, number of data, or general supervision of the research group, alone, will not justify authorship.
- Each author needs to have participated sufficiently when you look at the work to take responsibility that is public appropriate portions of this content.
- Your order of authorship regarding the byline must be a decision that is joint of co-authors. Authors must be prepared to explain the order for which authors are listed.
- All contributors that do not meet the criteria for authorship should always be listed in an acknowledgments section.
C. Issues with ICMJE recommendations
Two major issues with the ICMJE guidelines are that many people in the scientific community are unaware of them and many scientists try not to sign up for them. According to Stanford University’s Mildred Cho and Martha McKee, writing in Science’s Next Wave in 2002, a 1994 study revealed that 21% of authors of basic science papers and 30% of authors of clinical studies had no involvement into the conception or design of a project, the design for the study, the analysis and interpretation of data, or perhaps the writing or revisions. Actual practice, it seems, disagrees with ICMJE recommendations.
Eugene Tarnow, writing in Science and Ethics in 2002, reports findings related towards the 1994 study. He cited a 1992 study of 1,000 postdoctoral fellows at the University of California, bay area, by which less than half knew about any university, school, laboratory, or departmental guidelines for research and publication. Half thought that being head of this laboratory was sufficient for authorship, and slightly fewer thought that getting funding was enough for authorship.
A study by Tarnow of postdoctoral fellows in physics in the 1990s also shows divergences from ICMJE precepts and points to many other concerns about authorship when you look at the sciences. Tarnow unearthed that 74% associated with postdoctoral fellows would not recognize the American Physical Society’s guidelines or thought it was vague or ready to accept multiple interpretations. Half the respondents thought the rules suggested that obtaining funding was sufficient for authorship, whilst the other half did not. The findings also revealed that in 75% of the postdoc-supervisor relationships authorship criteria was not discussed; in 61% the postdoc’s criteria were not “clearly agreed upon”; and in 70% of the relationships the criteria for designating other authors had not been “clearly agreed upon.”
Clearly, different laboratories have different practices about who must be included as an author on a paper. At some institutions, it’s quite common for heads of departments to be listed as authors, as so-called “guest authors” or authors that are”gift” although they never have directly contributed to the research. At other institutions, laboratory heads would routinely include as authors technicians who may have performed many experiments but might not have made a significant contribution that is intellectual a paper, while others will give a technician only an acknowledgment at the conclusion of a paper. Some academic supervisors may have their graduate students collect data, do research, and write up results, yet not give them credit on a paper, while others will give authorship credit to students. Some foreigners in the us may feel obligated to place mentors from their house countries on a paper and even though they failed to be involved in the investigation.
Alternatives to ICMJE
Another problem utilizing the ICMJE guidelines that has show up is the fact that each author may not be in a position to take responsibility that is full the totality of a paper. In an age of increasing specialization, one person knowing all the statistical analyses and methodology that is scientific went into getting good results may be unlikely. Some journals, such as the British Medical Journal and Lancet, have turned away from the idea of an author and instead think in terms of someone who is willing to take responsibility for the content of the paper as a result. The Journal for the American Medical Association also now requires authors to submit a questionnaire attesting towards the nature of these contribution to a paper.
The British Medical Journal says that listing authorship according to ICMJE guidelines will not clarify that is in charge of overall content and excludes those whose contribution happens to be the number of data. As a result, the journal lists contributors in two ways: it publishes the authors’ names at the beginning of the paper, and lists contributors, some of whom is almost certainly not included as authors, at the end, and provides information on who planned, conducted, and reported the work. More than one for the contributors are believed “guarantors” of the paper. The guarantor must make provision for a written statement that he / she accepts full responsibility for the conduct of the study, had access to the info, and controlled the decision to create. BMJ says that researchers must determine among themselves the precise nature of each and every man or woman’s contribution, and encourages open discussion among all participants.
American Psychological Association excerpt on publications.
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With an increase of understanding of the issue, ICMJE now has with its guidelines a clause concerning contributorship: “Editors are strongly encouraged to produce and implement a contributorship policy, along with a policy on identifying that is in charge of the integrity regarding the work as a whole.”
E. Other authorship responsibilities
Besides clarifying the issue of that is an author and who deserves credit for work, an author has its own other responsibilities (what exactly is given below has been adapted from Michael Kalichman’s educational material for the University of California, San Diego):
Checklist for Authors from Science’s Next Wave
- Good writing: Authors must write well and explain methods, data analysis and conclusions so a reader can understand them and also replicate findings. Charts, tables and graphs must additionally be clear.
- Accuracy: Although every effort should be meant to n’t have mistakes in a paper, be they in a footnote or from the research itself, unintentional errors creep in. Authors ought to be careful.
- Context and citations: the writer needs to put research into appropriate context and offer citations when you look at the manuscript that both agree and disagree using the work.
- Publishing negative results: If researchers never publish negative results, it generates a false impression and biases the literature. If answers are not published from a drug trial, for example, that either shows a medication doesn’t work or has side effects, clinicians reviewing the literature could get the wrong idea in regards to the medication’s true value. As a result, other researchers may continue with studies about a potentially bad drug.