Authorship and Responsibility in Health Sciences Research: A Review of Procedures for Fairly Allocating Authorship in Multi-Author Studies

Elise Smith, Bryn Williams-Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

While there has been significant discussion in the health sciences and ethics literatures about problems associated with publication practices (e. g., ghost- and gift-authorship, conflicts of interest), there has been relatively little practical guidance developed to help researchers determine how they should fairly allocate credit for multi-authored publications. Fair allocation of credit requires that participating authors be acknowledged for their contribution and responsibilities, but it is not obvious what contributions should warrant authorship, nor who should be responsible for the quality and content of the scientific research findings presented in a publication. In this paper, we review arguments presented in the ethics and health science literatures, and the policies or guidelines proposed by learned societies and journals, in order to explore the link between author contribution and responsibility in multi-author multidisciplinary health science publications. We then critically examine the various procedures used in the field to help researchers fairly allocate authorship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-212
Number of pages14
JournalScience and Engineering Ethics
Volume18
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Allocation of authorship
  • Credit
  • Health sciences
  • Multi-author studies
  • Publication ethics
  • Responsibility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Health(social science)
  • Health Policy
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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