Authorship and Contributor
Why Authorship Matters
Authorship confers credit and has important academic, social, and financial implications.
Authorship also implies responsibility and accountability for published work. The
following recommendations are intended to ensure that contributors who have made
substantive intellectual contributions to a paper are given credit as authors, but
also that contributors credited as authors understand their role in taking responsibility
and being accountable for what is published.
Because authorship does not communicate what contributions qualified an individual
to be an author, some journals now request and publish information about the contributions
of each person named as having participated in a submitted study, at least for original
research. Editors are strongly encouraged to develop and implement a
contributorship policy. Such policies remove much of the ambiguity surrounding
contributions, but leave unresolved the question of the quantity and quality of
contribution that qualify an individual for authorship. The IJEMR has thus developed
criteria for authorship that can be used by all journals, including those that distinguish
authors from other contributors.
Who Is an Author?
The IJEMR recommends that authorship be based on the following 4 criteria:
Substantial contributions to the conception
or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for
the work; AND
Drafting the work or revising it critically
for important intellectual content; AND
Final approval of the version to be
Agreement to be accountable for all
aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity
of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.
In addition to being accountable for the parts of the work he or she has done, an
author should be able to identify which co-authors are responsible for specific
other parts of the work. In addition, authors should have confidence in the integrity
of the contributions of their co-authors.
All those designated as authors should meet all four criteria for authorship, and
all who meet the four criteria should be identified as authors. Those who do not
meet all four criteria should be acknowledged. These authorship criteria are intended
to reserve the status of authorship for those who deserve credit and can take responsibility
for the work. The criteria are not intended for use as a means to disqualify colleagues
from authorship who otherwise meet authorship criteria by denying them the opportunity
to meet criterion. Therefore, all individuals who meet the first criterion should
have the opportunity to participate in the review, drafting, and final approval
of the manuscript.
The individuals who conduct the work are responsible for identifying who meets these
criteria and ideally should do so when planning the work, making modifications as
appropriate as the work progresses. It is the collective responsibility of the authors,
not the journal to which the work is submitted, to determine that all people named
as authors meet all four criteria; it is not the role of journal editors to determine
who qualifies or does not qualify for authorship or to arbitrate authorship conflicts.
If agreement cannot be reached about who qualifies for authorship, the institution(s)
where the work was performed, not the journal editor, should be asked to investigate.
If authors request removal or addition of an author after manuscript submission
or publication, journal editors should seek an explanation and signed statement
of agreement for the requested change from all listed authors and from the author
to be removed or added.
The corresponding author is the one individual who takes primary responsibility
for communication with the journal during the manuscript submission, peer review,
and publication process, and typically ensures that all the journal’s administrative
requirements, such as providing details of authorship, ethics committee approval
and gathering conflict of interest forms and statements, are properly completed,
although these duties may be delegated to one or more coauthors. The corresponding
author should be available throughout the submission and peer review process to
respond to editorial queries in a timely way, and should be available after publication
to respond to critiques of the work and cooperate with any requests from the journal
for data or additional information should questions about the paper arise after
publication. Although the corresponding author has primary responsibility for correspondence
with the journal, the IJEMR recommends that editors send copies of all correspondence
to all listed authors.
When a large multi-author group has conducted the work, the group ideally should
decide who will be an author before the work is started and confirm who is an author
before submitting the manuscript for publication. All members of the group named
as authors should meet all four criteria for authorship, including approval of the
final manuscript, and they should be able to take public responsibility for the
work and should have full confidence in the accuracy and integrity of the work of
other group authors. They will also be expected as individuals to complete conflict-of-interest
Contributors who meet fewer than all 4 of the above criteria for authorship should
not be listed as authors, but they should be acknowledged. Examples of activities
that alone (without other contributions) do not qualify a contributor for authorship
is acquisition of funding; general supervision of a research group or general administrative
support; and writing assistance, technical editing, language editing, and proofreading.
Those whose contributions do not justify authorship may be acknowledged individually
or together as a group under a single heading, and their contributions should be
specified (e.g., "served as scientific advisors," "critically reviewed
the study proposal," "collected data," "provided and cared for
study patients", "participated in writing or technical editing of the
Because acknowledgment may imply endorsement by acknowledged individuals of a study’s
data and conclusions, editors are advised to require that
the corresponding author obtain written permission to be acknowledged from all acknowledged