Brand-Ad-30-6
 IADVL
Indexed with PubMed and Science Citation Index (E) 
 
Users online: 3104 
     Home | Feedback | Login 
About Current Issue Archive Ahead of print Search Instructions Online Submission Subscribe What's New Contact  
  Navigate here 
  Search
 
   Next article
   Previous article 
   Table of Contents
  
 Resource links
   Similar in PUBMED
    Search Pubmed for
    Search in Google Scholar for
   Article in PDF (46 KB)
   Citation Manager
   Access Statistics
   Reader Comments
   Email Alert *
   Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

 
  In this article
   Did Shakespeare ...
   Gift Authorship,...
   International Co...
   Who is an Author ?
   Are the Recommen...
   What are the Dif...
   Order of Authorship
   Number of Authors
   Contributorship
   What Can be Done...
   References

 Article Access Statistics
    Viewed2525    
    Printed57    
    Emailed0    
    PDF Downloaded146    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 4    

Recommend this journal

 


 
FOCUS
Year : 2009  |  Volume : 75  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 211-213

Criteria for authorship


Department of Dermatology, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi-221 005, India

Correspondence Address:
Sanjay Singh
C-9, New Medical Enclave, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi-221 005
India
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0378-6323.48685

Rights and Permissions



How to cite this article:
Singh S. Criteria for authorship. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 2009;75:211-3

How to cite this URL:
Singh S. Criteria for authorship. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol [serial online] 2009 [cited 2021 Jan 22];75:211-3. Available from: https://www.ijdvl.com/text.asp?2009/75/2/211/48685



  Did Shakespeare Write Hamlet ? Top


Did William Shakespeare (1564-1616) write the comedies such as Much Ado About Nothing and As You Like It and tragedies such as Hamlet, Othello and King Lear ? Strange as this question may sound, many modern-day scholars take it seriously. The doubts arise mainly because the authorship in those days was not recorded carefully. [1] Alas, five centuries later, somewhat similar questions still arise. Has someone named as an author really contributed to the work? Doubts are sometimes confirmed by the most unlikely source, as happened when a well-known author admitted that he was not part of the work and was made an author out of politeness as he was the head of the department, but the admission came only after no evidence was found to support the findings of a paper published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. [2] Examples of this phenomenon, known as gift authorship, are available in plenty. [2] The origins of gift authorship lie in the expected academic, social and financial benefits. This is often a reciprocally altruistic phenomenon. Generally, it repays some kindness or is done in exchange of authorship of some other paper.


  Gift Authorship, Pressured Authorship, Ghost Authorship Top


Gift authorship (also known as guest authorship, honorary authorship, unjustified authorship or undeserved authorship) is said to exist when an individual is included among the authors without fulfilling the requirement of authorship. You may find a person who is nowhere related to the topic in hand being put as an author or the editor may get a request to add someone's name at the time of publication for inclusion in the list of authors. Although this is the most frequent form of misconduct related to authorship, [3] there are other identified authorship misconducts also. [4] These are a person's use of his/her position to be included as an author without being qualified (pressured authorship) and non-inclusion of an individual as author despite being qualified (ghost authorship, uncompleted authorship or "denial of authorship"). Recently, in the discussion forum of the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME), it came to light that a similar paper to that already published has been submitted for publication. On investigation, the author of the recently submitted paper claimed that someone had published his paper without his knowledge and he had been denied of authorship in the published paper.


  International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), Wame, Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), Council of Science Editors (CSE) Top


Partly as a response to such events, the ICMJE (the Vancouver group) tried to define the criteria for authorship. The basic premise was that each author should have participated sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for it. [5] Some other groups are also working along similar lines, the most active ones being the WAME, [6] COPE [7] and CSE. [8]


  Who is an Author ? Top


Six hundred and eighty-nine medical journals, including the Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology (IJDVL), follow the ICMJE's Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals. [5] An "author" is generally considered to be someone who has made substantive intellectual contributions to a published study. The ICJME has recommended the following criteria for authorship: "Authorship credit should be based on: (1) substantial contributions to conception and design, acquisition of data or analysis and interpretation of data, (2) drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content and (3) final approval of the version to be published. Authors should meet conditions 1, 2 and 3." ICMJE also mentions that acquisition of funding, collection of data or general supervision of the research group alone does not constitute authorship. Basically, an author's responsibility begins with conception of the work and continues till the proof reading is done.


  Are the Recommendations Working ? Top


The recommendations are a major step forward, but they have only partially solved the problem. Studies have shown that a large number of authors fail to meet these criteria. [2] A study concluded that over a 20-year period, the number of authors of original articles in the British Medical Journal has increased, mainly because of the rise of authorship among professors and department chairpersons (heads). [9] In a survey of 12 papers, only 32 out of 84 authors fulfilled the criteria for authorship and 19 possibly did so. [10]

Another study found that 62 of 1176 authors of 184 papers had made no substantial contributions to six major tasks (conception, design, provision of resources, collection of data, analysis and interpretation of data, writing or revising drafts), while a further 206 contributed only by providing resources or collecting data. [11]


  What are the Different Author Contributions Recognized by the IJDVL? Top


After the editors of IJDVL provisionally accept your paper, the corresponding author is asked to fill an online form called author/bibliographic details. In this form, beside other things, the contributions of different authors are to be selected from a list. The different contributions mentioned in the list are: concepts, design, definition of intellectual content, literature search, clinical studies, experimental studies, data acquisition, data analysis, statistical analysis, manuscript preparation and manuscript editing and revision. This information remains with the editors only. Some journals do publish information about the contributions of each author, at least for research papers.


  Order of Authorship Top


The order of authorship should be a joint decision of the coauthors. A task force of the CSE on authorship has suggested assigning authorship of journal articles strictly by descending order of contribution, with first place being the first prize. [12] This recommendation refers to papers about clinical medicine. A different tradition is generally followed in basic sciences, where the first author (usually a post-doctoral fellow) has usually made the maximum contribution and the last author is the supervisor or team leader. [13] In the post-graduate thesis dissertation, in the event of its unlikely publication in India, who should be its first author, the post-graduate student or his guide, a teacher, remains a question to be answered. Many a time the guide may have struggled to complete the thesis dissertation and may claim to be its first author.


  Number of Authors Top


The ICMJE does not specify any upper limit for the number of authors of the papers. Some journals, however, do specify an upper limit on the number of authors of some sections of the journals. For example, IJDVL specifies an upper limit of four authors for case reports. The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (JAAD) does not specify any such limit. This could explain the results of a recent work in which the number of authors of single case reports (reports of one case) in IJDVL and JAAD were counted and compared. Results showed that there were significantly more authors and significantly more papers with more than four authors in the JAAD. [14] In an effort to minimize gift authorship, Indian Pediatrics limited the number of authorship to five, four and two for brief reports, case reports and letters to the editor, respectively, from January 2003. A study showed that since then there has been a significant reduction in the number of senior authors contributing to the authorship. [15] It appears that specifying a limit on the number of authors may limit the problem of gift authorship.


  Contributorship Top


The acknowledgments section of the paper provides an opportunity to thank individuals who have contributed to the work but do not fulfill authorship criteria. According to the ICMJE, 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 chair who provided only general support.[5] Financial and material support should also be acknowledged.


  What Can be Done ? A Few Ideas Top


Recommendations are only guidelines and it depends on the authors whether they follow them or not and on the editors whether and to what extent they can implement them. Perhaps most importantly, those who have really carried out the work will have an interest in seeing that their role is not devalued or diluted by the inclusion of many who have performed little. [2] I think that it is very important for the journals to ask the authors their individual contributions as the IJDVL does. But this information should be sought at the time of submission of papers. If the editors feel that the contribution of an individual mentioned as author does not fulfill the authorship criteria, this issue should be resolved before the paper is sent to referees. An indicator of gift authorship would be present when more than one author have been mentioned as making the same contribution, especially in less-exhaustive works such as case reports. Later on, if the paper is accepted for publication, these individual contributions of the authors should preferably be published. There would be a problem of space if this is done, but it is very important, as the foregoing discussion shows. The contributions can be printed in a small font size. Now-a-days most of the journals have their online editions, where the space available is unlimited. Therefore, publishing online the individual contributions would be very easy. If this is done, a line can appear in the printed edition stating that authors' contributions are available online. Secondly, an approach that appears to work [14],[15] is specifying limits on the number of authors for different sections of the journal, especially for less-exhaustive ones. By using these and other approaches, it may be possible to give the credit of authorship where it truly belongs.

 
  References Top

1.Pinker S. Words and worlds. In: The stuff of thought: Language as a window into human nature. London: Penguin Books; 2007. p. 1-24.  Back to cited text no. 1    
2.Smith J. Gift authorship: A poisoned chalice? Br Med J 1994;309:1456-7.  Back to cited text no. 2    
3.Grieger MC. Authorship: An ethical dilemma of science. Sao Paulo Med J 2005;123: 242-6.   Back to cited text no. 3  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]
4.Bennett DM, Taylor DM. Unethical practices in authorship of scientific papers. Emerg Med (Fremantle) 2003;15:263-70.   Back to cited text no. 4  [PUBMED]  
5.International committee of medical journal editors. Uniform requirements for manuscripts submitted to biomedical journals. Available from: http://www.icmje.org. [last accessed 2008 Nov 8].  Back to cited text no. 5    
6.World association of medical editors. WAME publication ethics policies for medical journals. Available from: http://www.wame.org/resources/ethics-resources/publication-ethics-policies-for-medical-journals. [last accessed 2008 Nov 8].  Back to cited text no. 6    
7.Committee on publication ethics. Guidelines on good publication and the code of conduct Available from: http://www.publicationethics.org.uk/guidelines. [last accessed 2008 Nov 8].  Back to cited text no. 7    
8.Council of scientific editors. Available from: http://www.councilscienceeditors.org/ [last accessed 2008 Nov 8].  Back to cited text no. 8    
9.Drenth JP. Multiple authorship: The contribution of senior authors. JAMA 1998;280:219-21.  Back to cited text no. 9  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]
10.Goodman N. Survey of fulfilment of criteria for authorship in published medical research. BMJ 1994;309:1482.  Back to cited text no. 10    
11.Shapiro DW, Wenger NS, Shapiro, MF. The contributions of authors to multiauthored bio-medical research papers. JAMA 1994;271:438-42.  Back to cited text no. 11    
12.Davidoff F; for the council of science editors task force on authorship. Who′s the author? Problems with biomedical authorship, and some possible solutions. Sci Ed 2000;23:111-9.  Back to cited text no. 12    
13.Altus MS. Culture of science and order of authorship. Available from: http://www.councilscienceeditors.org/members/securedDocuments/v24n1p017.pdf. [last accessed 2008 Nov 8].  Back to cited text no. 13    
14.Singh S, Suvirya S, Chaudhary R. Number of authors of single case reports in Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology, and Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 2008; 74: 673-5.  Back to cited text no. 14  [PUBMED]  Medknow Journal
15.Gupta P, Sharma B, Choudhury P. Limiting authorship in Indian Pediatrics: An initiative to curb gift authorship. Indian Pediatr 2007;44:37-9.  Back to cited text no. 15  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]



This article has been cited by
1 Bibliometric profile of top-cited single-author articles in the Science Citation Index Expanded
Kun-Yang Chuang,Yuh-Shan Ho
Journal of Informetrics. 2014; 8(4): 951
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
2 Top cited articles in adsorption research using Y-index
H.-Z. Fu,Y.-S. Ho
Research Evaluation. 2013;
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
3 The top-cited research works in the Science Citation Index Expanded
Yuh-Shan Ho
Scientometrics. 2013; 94(3): 1297
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
4 Tackling polyauthoritis giftosa
Bhan, A.
Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology. 2010; 76(1): 60-61
[Pubmed]



 

Top
Print this article  Email this article
Previous article Next article

    

Online since 15th March '04
Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow