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1. Purpose and Objectives

This policy sets out the responsibility and requirements for determining authorship on publications.

Researchers must familiarise themselves with this policy and endeavour to ensure that its principles are observed at all times. Significant departures from the standards of conduct outlined in this policy may amount to misconduct on the part of the individual researcher.

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

Organisational Unit Head - Head of School, Institute Director or equivalent.

Publication - dissemination of findings, whether in hardcopy, electronic or other tangible form, including: making them available in refereed and non-refereed books or journals; web-pages; eLearning resource packages; conference presentations, papers, proceedings and posters; exhibitions; films; professional and institutional repositories; and patents, registered designs and like intellectual property.

Researchers - Staff, Occupational Trainees, Academic Title Holders, Visiting Academics, Industry Fellows, Honorary and Adjunct Title Holders, Emeritus Professors, and Research Higher Degree Candidates of the University who conduct research at or on behalf of the University.

The Code - Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2007) or any subsequent published revision therof.

3. Policy Scope/Coverage

This policy applies to all researchers.

4. Policy Statement

This policy describes the underlying principles of determining authorship and is based on guidelines provided in the Code. This policy should be read in conjunction with the Code and with PPL 4.20.02 Responsible Conduct of Research and PPL 4.20.05 Research Misconduct.

5. Author Eligibility

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

(1) conception and design of the project;

(2) analysis and interpretation of the research data on which the publication is based;

(3) drafting significant parts of the publication or critically reviewing it so as to contribute to the interpretation.

Each author must have participated sufficiently in the publication to take public responsibility for at least that part of the work they contributed. All persons designated as authors must qualify for and agree to authorship, and all those who qualify must be offered authorship.

5.2 Authorship must not be offered to those who do not meet the requirements set out above. The right to authorship is not tied to position or profession: ghost, gift, or honorary authorship is unacceptable. For example, none of the following contributions justifies including a person as an author:

(1) being an Organisational Unit Head, holding other positions of authority, or personal friendship with the authors;

(2) providing a technical contribution but no other intellectual input to the project or work to be submitted;

(3) providing routine assistance in some aspects of the project, the acquisition of funding, or general supervision of the research team or research higher degree candidate;

(4) providing data that have already been published or materials obtained from third parties, but with no other intellectual input.

5.3 Where relevant, the term ‘editor’ should be applied only to a person who has played a significant role in the intellectual shaping of a publication by applying the same authorship criteria as in clause 5.1.

5.4 Where appropriate, other persons who contributed to the research but do not meet the criteria for authorship (clause 5.1) should be named in the Acknowledgements. This includes those who have contributed facilities, materials or technical assistance or technical writing assistance. Where individuals are to be acknowledged, authors should make all reasonable steps to obtain their written or email consent.

5.5 Authorship disputes are to be resolved as described in the authorship dispute resolution procedure (PPL 4.20.04b).  

6. Author Responsibilities

6.1 Collaborating researchers should periodically review agreed authorship and author order of a publication.

6.2 Each author of a research publication takes responsibility for the validity, originality, and integrity of the research that they contributed, or permitted to have been contributed, to the publication.

6.3 All researchers must take all reasonable steps to ensure that their findings are accurate and properly reported. If they become aware subsequently that their findings were inaccurate and/or improperly reported, then researchers must correct the record as soon as possible.

6.4 All researchers have a responsibility to accurately assign credit for contributions to a research publication or outcome. Prior to submitting a work for review, all authors must certify that they:

(1) agree to submission of the publication;

(2) are eligible to be an author as defined in section 5.1 of this policy;

(3) agree to be an author on the publication; and

(4) agree to the order of authors listed on the publication.

6.5 Each author must be offered the opportunity to review and approve the final version of the work to be submitted for publication. 

6.6 A researcher must, prior to publication of any research that names the researcher as an author, assure themselves that:

(1) authorship has been offered to all people, including students, who meet the criteria for authorship listed above in clause 5.1; and

(2) appropriate steps have been taken to obtain each person's written or email notification of acceptance or disclaimer of authorship within a reasonable time of the offer being made.

6.7 Where a publication has several authors, one author must take responsibility for:

(1) recording authorship and managing communications about the publication with the co-authors and editor/publisher;

(2) ensuring that all authors acknowledge their authorship and contribution in writing or by email before submitting the work for review;

and keeping a record of such correspondence for the period described in PPL 1.60.4.

6.8 Researchers must include information acknowledging all sources of financial and in-kind support for the research they are publishing.

6.9 Researchers must include information acknowledging any potential conflicts of interest for the research they are publishing.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Bronwyn Harch