A point that is starting a discussion of authorship is the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) guidelines. In 1978, a small group of editors of general medical journals met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted for their journals. The group became known as the 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 evolved and expanded in to the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, which meets annually. The ICMJE gradually has broadened its concerns to include principles that are ethical to publication in biomedical journals. Over time, ICMJE has issued updated versions of what exactly are called Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals as well as other statements relating to policy that is editorial. The essential update that is recent in November 2003. Approximately 500 biomedical journals subscribe into the guidelines.
In accordance with the ICMJE guidelines:
The Schцn Case: Taking responsibility for others’ work
- Authorship credit must certanly be based on 1) substantial contributions to conception and design, or acquisition of information, or analysis and interpretation of information; 2) drafting the article or revising it critically for important content that is intellectual and 3) final approval of this version to be published. Authors should meet conditions 1, 2, and 3.
- When a large, multi-center group has conducted the task, the group should identify the individuals who accept direct responsibility for the manuscript. Him or her should fully meet the criteria for authorship defined above and editors will ask him or her to accomplish journal-specific author and conflict of great interest disclosure forms. When submitting an organization author manuscript, the author that is corresponding clearly indicate the most well-liked citation and should clearly identify all individual authors as well as the group name. Journals will generally list other people in the combined group when you look at the acknowledgements. The National Library of Medicine indexes the combined group name in addition to names of an individual the group has defined as being directly responsible for the manuscript.
- Acquisition of funding, number of data, or general supervision associated with research group, alone, will not justify authorship.
- Each author should have participated sufficiently into the strive to take public responsibility for appropriate portions for the content.
- Your order of authorship in the byline should always be a joint decision associated with the co-authors. Authors should always be willing to explain the order in which authors are listed.
- All contributors that do not meet the requirements for authorship should be listed in an acknowledgments section.
C. Difficulties with ICMJE recommendations
Two major issues with the ICMJE guidelines are that many people in the scientific community are unacquainted with them and lots of scientists do not donate to them. In accordance with Stanford University’s Mildred Cho and Martha McKee, writing in Science’s Next Wave in 2002, a 1994 study indicated 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 style associated with the study, the analysis and interpretation of data, or the writing or revisions. Actual practice, this indicates, 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, San Francisco, for which less than half knew about any university, school, laboratory, or departmental guidelines for research and publication. Half believed that being head for the laboratory was sufficient for authorship, and slightly fewer thought that getting funding was enough for authorship.
A research by Tarnow of postdoctoral fellows in physics in the 1990s also shows divergences from ICMJE precepts and points to many other concerns about authorship within the sciences. Tarnow unearthed that 74% of this postdoctoral fellows did not recognize the American Physical Society’s guidelines or thought it was vague or ready to accept interpretations that are multiple. Half the respondents thought the principles suggested that obtaining funding was sufficient for authorship, even though the other half would not. The findings also revealed that in 75% associated with the postdoc-supervisor relationships authorship criteria had not been discussed; in 61% the postdoc’s criteria are not “clearly agreed upon”; as well as in 70% of the relationships the criteria for designating other authors was not “clearly agreed upon.”
Clearly, different laboratories have different practices about who should always be included as an author on a paper. At some institutions, it is common for heads of departments to be listed as authors, as so-called “guest authors” or “gift authors,” even though they never have directly contributed into 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 substantial intellectual contribution to a paper, while others would give a technician only an acknowledgment at the end of a paper. Some supervisors that are academic have their graduate students collect data, do research, and write up results, yet not provide them with credit on a paper, while others will give authorship credit to students. Some foreigners in america may feel obligated to put mentors from their house countries on a paper and even though they did not take part in the study.
Alternatives to ICMJE
Another problem with the ICMJE guidelines that has show up is that each author may possibly not be able to take responsibility that is full the totality of a paper. In a day and time of increasing specialization, one person knowing most of the statistical analyses and scientific methodology that went into getting 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 of this American Medical Association also now requires authors to submit a questionnaire attesting towards the nature of the contribution to a paper.
The British Medical Journal says that listing authorship according to ICMJE guidelines will not clarify that is accountable for overall content and excludes those whose contribution happens to be the collection of data. Because of this, the journal lists contributors in 2 ways: it publishes the authors’ names at the beginning of the paper, and lists contributors, several of whom may possibly not be included as authors, at the conclusion, and provides information on who planned, conducted, and reported the work. A number of of this contributors are believed “guarantors” of this paper. The guarantor must provide a written statement that she or he accepts full responsibility for the conduct associated with the study, had access to the information, and controlled the decision to publish. BMJ says that researchers must determine among themselves the particular nature of each person’s contribution, and encourages discussion that is open all participants.
American Psychological Association excerpt on publications.
browse the excerpt
A clause concerning contributorship: “Editors are strongly encouraged to build up and implement a contributorship policy, as well as an insurance policy on identifying who is in charge of the integrity of the work as a whole. with increased understanding of the problem, ICMJE now has in its guidelines”
E. Other authorship responsibilities
An author has many other responsibilities (what is listed below has been adapted from Michael Kalichman’s educational material for the University of California, San Diego) besides clarifying the issue of who is an author and who deserves credit for work:
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 be clear also.
- Accuracy: Although every effort should really be built to not need mistakes in a paper, be they in a footnote or through the research itself, unintentional errors creep in. Authors should really be careful.
- Context and citations: the writer needs to put research into appropriate context and offer citations in the manuscript that both agree and disagree because of the work.
- Publishing negative results: If researchers never publish negative results, it creates a impression that is false biases the literature. If results are not published from a drug trial, as an example, that either shows a medication does not work or has negative effects, clinicians reviewing the literature could get the wrong idea concerning the medication’s value that is true. Because of this, other researchers may continue with studies about a potentially bad drug.