Authorship credit should be based on:
- Substantial contributions to conception and design, acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data;
- Drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content;
- Final approval of the version to be published; and
- 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.
Authors should meet conditions 1, 2, 3, and 4.
When a large, multicenter group has conducted the work, the group should identify the individuals who accept direct responsibility for the manuscript (3). These individuals should fully meet the criteria for authorship/contributorship defined above, and editors will ask these individuals to complete journal-specific author and conflict-of-interest disclosure forms. When submitting a manuscript authored by a group, the corresponding author should clearly indicate the preferred citation and identify all individual authors as well as the group name. Journals generally list other members of the group in the Acknowledgments. The NLM indexes the group name and the names of individuals the group has identified as being directly responsible for the manuscript; it also lists the names of collaborators if they are listed in Acknowledgments.
Acquisition of funding, collection of data, or general supervision of the research group alone does not constitute authorship.
All persons designated as authors should qualify for authorship, and all those who qualify should be listed.
Each author should have participated sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for appropriate portions of the content.
Increasingly, authorship of multicenter trials is attributed to a group. All members of the group who are named as authors should fully meet the above criteria for authorship/contributorship.
The group should jointly make decisions about contributors/authors before submitting the manuscript for publication. The corresponding author/guarantor should be prepared to explain the presence and order of these individuals. It is not the role of editors to make authorship/contributorship decisions or to arbitrate conflicts related to authorship.
Changes to authorship
Dove does not permit the changing/adding/deleting of authors after submission of the paper.
Only in rare cases, such as the work substantially changing in response to reviewer comments, should addition or removal of an author be considered after submission.
Contributors Listed in Acknowledgments
All contributors who do not meet the criteria for authorship should be listed in an acknowledgments section. Examples of those who might be acknowledged include a person who provided purely technical help, writing assistance, or a department chairperson who provided only general support. Authors should declare whether they had assistance with study design, data collection, data analysis, or manuscript preparation. If such assistance was available, the authors should disclose the identity of the individuals who provided this assistance and the entity that supported it in the published article. Financial and material support should also be acknowledged.
Groups of persons who have contributed materially to the article but whose contributions do not justify authorship may be listed under such headings as “clinical investigators” or “participating investigators,” and their function or contribution should be described—for example, “served as scientific advisors,” “critically reviewed the study proposal,” “collected data,” or “provided and cared for study patients.” Because readers may infer their endorsement of the data and conclusions, these persons must give written permission to be acknowledged.
Please note: the Authorship and “Contributors Listed in Acknowledgments” sections are reprinted from the ICMJE Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals. Dove Medical Press prepared this reprint. The ICMJE has not endorsed nor approved the contents of this reprint. The official version of the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals is located at http://www.icmje.org/. Users should cite this official version when citing the document.
Authors Declaration and Warranties
By submitting any research article for the purposes of publication by Dove Medical Press Limited the authors must certify and warrant that:
The submitting author has been authorised by any co-authors to submit the research article; and
- They are the sole author(s) of the article and are legally able and entitled to submit the article and authorise Dove Medical Press to publish the research article. If the law requires that the article be published in the public domain, I/we will notify DMP at the time of submission.
- The research article is original, has not already been published in any other journal (medical, or otherwise) or is not currently under consideration for publication by another journal, and does not infringe any existing copyright or any other rights prescribed by law;
- The article contains nothing that is unlawful, defamatory, or which would, if published, constitute a breach of contract or of confidentiality;
- Due care, diligence and all other requisite investigations were carried out in the preparation of the research article(s) to ensure its accuracy. To the best of their knowledge all statements contained in it purporting to be factual are true and correct.
Number of authors
Consideration should be given to the number of qualified authors needed to take responsibility for the publication. To some extent, this will depend on the complexity of the research and of the publication, but it would be unusual in biomedical research (with few exceptions) to require >10 authors to meet this need. A high number of authors calls into question whether they could all have provided "substantial intellectual contribution." Fewer authors are often preferable, and others can be acknowledged (e.g., as nonauthor contributors or collaborators).
Authors should decide how this will be determined at the initiation of the work, including the designation of the lead and corresponding authors, who may or may not be the same person. Final order, however, should be based on authors' actual roles and contributions in the development of the publication (and therefore cannot be agreed upon until this in complete). Those who made the greatest contribution are generally listed first, but alphabetical order may also be used. It may be useful to describe in the contributorship section of the publication whether alphabetical order or some other convention was used to determine author order.
Addition or removal or author
In certain circumstances during the development of a publication, it may be necessary to add or remove an author (e.g., if an author fails to provide a substantial contribution or approve the final version of the work). In such cases, all authors should agree to the change. Only in rare cases, such as the work substantially changing in response to reviewer comments, should addition or removal of an author be considered after submission.
Death or incapacity of an author
Should an author die after completing a major part of the work, posthumous authorship can be considered if agreed to by all other authors. We suggest, as a first step, seeking advice on correct attribution and process from journal instructions or the editorial office.
If the journal agrees to posthumous authorship but requires submission forms to be signed, then in the case of a sponsor-employed author or a contractor, a supervisor may be the most appropriate proxy. Otherwise, a family member or person with power of attorney should be approached. In all cases, efforts should be made to contact the family of the deceased author to inform them of the intention and request their consent to the listing or acknowledgment.
Change of affiliation
If an author changes affiliation before the work is published, his or her affiliation should reflect where the major part of the work was done. The current affiliation and contact details should be listed in the acknowledgment section. Change of affiliation alone is not a valid reason to remove an author from a publication if he or she meets authorship criteria.
Company- or sponsor-employed authors
Sponsor-employed scientists and clinicians are often qualified to participate as authors of company-sponsored research publications and should have that opportunity. Such authors should not be denied authorship because of concerns about perception of bias. Whatever criteria are used to determine authorship should be applied equally to company employees, contractors, and others.
Professional writers as authors
Professional medical writers who meet applicable authorship criteria should be listed as authors. If writers do not meet authorship criteria, their contribution should be disclosed (e.g., as a nonauthor contributor in the acknowledgment section). Writers who were not involved with study design, data collection, or data analysis and interpretation (e.g., those developing a primary publication from a clinical study report) generally do not meet International Committee of Medical Journal Editors authorship criteria. However, professional writers working on other types of publication (e.g., literature reviews) may qualify as authors.
Please note: The "Authorship: Common issues" section was adapted from Battisti WP, Wager E, Baltzer L, Bridges D, Cairns A, Carswell CI, et al. Good Publication Practice for Communicating Company-Sponsored Medical Research: GPP3. Ann Intern Med. 2015;163:461-464. doi:10.7326/M15-0288 Appendix Table 2. Common Issues About Authorship.
Updated 24 September 2019