Procedures

Authorship - Procedures

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1.0  Purpose and Scope

This Procedure should be read in conjunction with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (the Code) and The University of Queensland’s (UQ) Responsible Conduct of Research Policy.

This Procedure describes the processes for:

  • Author eligibility and responsibilities;
  • The acknowledgement of other contributions;
  • Authorship agreements;
  • Attribution of the research output to UQ;
  • The resolution of authorship disputes.

Authorship signifies that an individual has made a significant intellectual contribution to a research output and is accountable for it. Authorship must be:

  1. An honest reflection of contribution to the research output;
  2. Assigned fairly and consistent with the Responsible Conduct of Research Policy and the Code;
  3. Communicated clearly and openly between contributors to the output; and
  4. Correctly credited to the University.

Authorship disputes over unpublished research outputs must be managed according to Section 3.4 of these Procedures.

This Procedure applies to all researchers generating research outputs, excluding patents and datasets at, or on behalf of, UQ.

2.0   Process and Key Controls

In accordance with the Responsible Conduct of Research Policy and the Code researchers will:

  • Disseminate research findings responsibly, accurately and broadly. Where necessary, take action to correct the record in a timely manner;
  • Ensure that authors of research outputs are all those, and only those, who have made a significant intellectual or scholarly contribution to the research and its output, and that they agree to be listed as an author;
  • Acknowledge those who have contributed to the research; and
  • Cite and acknowledge other relevant work appropriately and accurately.

Disputes between co-authors on authorship are more likely to arise where authorship agreements have not been appropriately developed and maintained. For this reason, researchers should keep records of agreements relating to authorship. 

3.0   Key Requirements

3.1   Authorship

3.1.1   Eligibility

Authorship should be approached with fairness and a generosity of spirit while maintaining the principles and responsibilities of the Responsible Conduct of Research Policy and this Procedure.

Attribution of authorship depends to some extent on the discipline but, in all cases, must be based on a substantive contribution to at least one, and usually more than one, of the following activities:

  • Conception and design of the project;
  • Acquisition of research data where the acquisition has required significant intellectual judgement, planning, design, or input;
  • Analysis and interpretation of the data on which the research output is based;
  • Drafting significant parts of the research output or critically reviewing it so as to contribute to the interpretation.

An opportunity to meet the above eligibility criteria should be offered to those contributing significant knowledge, including Indigenous knowledge, to the project.

Authorship must be offered to those who meet these requirements. The right to authorship is not tied to position or profession: ghost, gift, or honorary authorship is unacceptable and is a breach of the Responsible Conduct of Research Policy and the Code. Where relevant, the term ‘editor’ should be applied only to a person who has played a significant role in the intellectual shaping of a research output.

3.1.2   Responsibilities

An author of a research output will:

  • Be accountable for the whole research output;
  • Be directly responsible for the accuracy and integrity of the research that they contributed, or permitted to have been contributed, to the research output. This includes accepting responsibility for any contribution included in the output from an individual who has declined authorship.

In addition, each author must provide written approval of the research output before its submission for publication and of the final version to be published.

3.1.3   Acknowledgement of other contributions

All those who have contributed to the research output but do not meet the criteria for authorship must be offered acknowledgement. This may include individuals such as research assistants, technical writers, and Higher Degree by Research candidates. Contributions in the form of materials, data, equipment, technical assistance or writing, or routine data acquisition may require acknowledgement. Written consent must be obtained from those to be acknowledged, where practicable.

A research output must include information on all sources of financial and in-kind support for the research; where applicable, the acknowledgment must be in accordance with the relevant funding agreement. Acknowledgement for the provision of goods or services by a third party, such as materials, data or infrastructure, must be made in accordance with any relevant research or user agreements.

3.2   Authorship agreements among collaborators

Collaborators should discuss authorship at all stages of the research and establish an agreement on authorship. Authorship agreements should be periodically reviewed, including when there is a change in circumstances in the collaboration or research, such as an individual leaving or joining the team. The recording and updating of authorship agreements and regular communication about authorship may prevent disputes.

An authorship agreement does not need to be a formal legal document. It can be in the form of emails, a transcript of an online discussion or other similar evidence of an agreement.

Authorship agreements should include:

  • A list of those who will be recognised as an author;
  • The order of authors;
  • The contribution that each author has or will make;
  • The corresponding author;
  • A list of those who will be recognised through acknowledgement.

While the primary responsibility for maintaining authorship agreements and records of approval for submission and publication of the research output lies with the corresponding author, each author is encouraged to keep their own records.

If an author is deceased or cannot be contacted following reasonable efforts, the publication submission may proceed provided that there are no grounds to believe that this person would have objected to being included as an author.

3.3   Author affiliations with UQ

To ensure the University is appropriately recognised in a research output, all UQ authors are required to cite ‘The University of Queensland’ as the primary institution, without the use of abbreviations, acronyms or other affiliations. The relevant Institute/School/Centre may be listed as a secondary or tertiary byline.

The inclusion of 'The University of Queensland' in the byline is required in cases where any UQ expertise, resources, facilities or services have been used in the research. For research undertaken prior to a researcher commencing at UQ, affiliation with UQ will be included in accordance with these requirements and only where the research meets the standards of the Code and of UQ’s Responsible Conduct of Research policies and procedures

Advice on research output affiliation may be sought from the Library.

The University recommends the use of ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) wherever possible.

3.4   Authorship disputes

It is expected that all those involved in authoring a research output will make every reasonable effort to resolve a dispute in accordance with the Responsible Conduct of Research Policy, the Code and this Procedure.

Concerns over author inclusion/exclusion or author order of a published research output should be referred for assessment according to Managing Complaints about the Conduct of Research Procedure.

Authorship grievances among students will be managed in accordance with the Student Grievance Resolution Policy and Procedure.

The following steps will be followed when attempting to resolve an authorship dispute involving an unpublished research output:

  1. Individuals involved in the authorship dispute should first seek resolution through discussion among themselves. Advice may be sought from the Organisational Unit Head or a Research Integrity Advisor on the principles of author eligibility or order.
  2. Disputes that cannot be resolved will be referred to the Organisational Unit Head of the corresponding author who will attempt resolution through mediation.
  3. Where mediation is unsuccessful, the matter will be referred to the relevant Faculty Associate Dean (Research) or Institute Deputy Director (Research), who will provide a recommendation for consideration of the individuals involved in the dispute. Recommendations will be based on evidence of contribution to the research output and the eligibility criteria in Section 3.1.
  4. The matter may be referred to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), or other nominee, only if there is a concern about the process undertaken in step 3.

If an agreement cannot be reached among all eligible authors the research output should not be published in its current form in accordance with 3.1.2 of this Procedure. 

Disputes involving authors from other institutions are to be handled by the institution of the corresponding author.

4.0   Roles, Responsibilities and Accountabilities

4.1   Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) is responsible for the oversight of the authorship dispute management process.

4.2   Office of Research Integrity

The Office of Research Integrity is responsible for:

  • Provision of education and advice on authorship to researchers;
  • Receiving and managing complaints about authorship of published research outputs in accordance with the Managing Complaints about the Conduct of Research Procedure.

4.3   Heads of Organisational Units

Heads of Organisational Units are responsible for the provision of advice in relation to authorship and conducting an initial mediation with disputing parties of unpublished research outputs.

4.4   Faculty Associate Dean (Research) or Institute Deputy Director (Research)

The Faculty Associate Dean (Research) or Institute Deputy Director (Research) from the Organisational Unit of the corresponding author is responsible for undertaking an assessment of an authorship dispute of unpublished research outputs and providing a recommendation based on the evidence of intellectual contribution and the author eligibility criteria in this Procedure.

4.5   Researchers

Researchers are responsible for conducting their research in accordance with the Responsible Conduct of Research Policy, the Code and this Procedure.

5.0   Monitoring, Review and Assurance

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) is responsible for the development, compliance monitoring and review of this Procedure.

For continuous improvement and to maintain the policy review cycle, one year after the initial publication date of this Procedure, a review will occur to ensure the processes put in place are effective, efficient and current. After the review, the evaluation timeframe will revert to the standard three-yearly interval. 

6.0   Recording and Reporting

6.1   Record of authorship agreement

The corresponding author must maintain a written and up to date record of authorship agreements, including records that confirm that approval or disclaimers have been obtained from all eligible authors. These may be in the form of an email trail, publication outlet certification, or may use the Authorship Agreement form. Records should be saved locally by the authors involved in the research output.  A template for recording authorship agreements is available here.

6.2   Record of disputes

The parties to any dispute process should maintain records of agreements reached through direct dialogue or mediation. Associate Deans (Research) or Deputy Directors (Research) will maintain records of disputes where they make a recommendation. The Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) will retain records and materials relating to all matters it investigates.

7.0   Appendix

7.1   Definitions

Author - an individual who has made a substantial intellectual contribution to a research output and is accountable for that research output.

Authorship - the act of attributing authors to their research work and recognising contributions to research.

Corresponding author - the author who is, as agreed by all co-authors, responsible for communication with publishers, managing communication between the co-authors and maintaining related records, including those related to the authorship agreement. The corresponding author is sometimes referred to as the ‘executive author’.

Research output – was previously known as a ‘publication’ although the terms may be used interchangeably. A research output communicates or makes available the products of research. Examples of research outputs include journal articles, book chapters, books, conference papers, reports, performances or exhibitions and may be in hardcopy, electronic or other form. A research project is considered a research output once the final version is disseminated or published, or made publically available.

Researcher - any University staff member or student who conducts, or assists with the conduct of, research at, or on behalf of, the University. University staff member means all officers and employees of the University, including University Affiliates.

7.2   Related documents

Custodians
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Bronwyn Harch

Forms

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Authorship Agreement - Form

Authorship Agreement - Form

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Description: 

The Authorship Agreement form may be completed by researchers to certify that all authors have agreed to authorship on the work to be submitted.

If the journal/publication outlet already requires authors to provide such certification, then they are not required to complete the Authorship Acknowledgement form, but should retain a copy of the journal/publishers form on file in their own records.

Custodians
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Bronwyn Harch
Custodians
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Bronwyn Harch
Custodians
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Bronwyn Harch