rss
J Med Ethics 37:424-428 doi:10.1136/jme.2010.040675
  • Research ethics
  • Paper

Authorship policies of bioethics journals

  1. Zubin Master2,3
  1. 1National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA
  2. 2Health Law Institute, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  3. 3Sprott Centre for Stem Cell Research, Regenerative Medicine Program, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr David B Resnik, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Box 12233, Mail Drop CU 03, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, USA; resnikd{at}niehs.nih.gov
  1. Contributors All authors contributed to conception and design, data collection and analysis, and drafting the manuscript.

  • Received 4 October 2010
  • Revised 13 December 2010
  • Accepted 16 December 2010
  • Published Online First 25 January 2011

Abstract

Inappropriate authorship is a common problem in biomedical research and may be becoming one in bioethics, due to the increase in multiple authorship. This paper investigates the authorship policies of bioethics journals to determine whether they provide adequate guidance for researchers who submit articles for publication, which can help deter inappropriate authorship. It was found that 63.3% of bioethics journals provide no guidance on authorship; 36.7% provide guidance on which contributions merit authorship, 23.3% provide guidance on which contributions do not merit authorship, 23.3% require authors to take responsibility for their contributions or for the article as a whole, 20% provide guidance on which contributions merit an acknowledgement but not authorship, 6.7% require authors to describe their contributions, and only 3.3% distinguish between authorship in empirical and conceptual research. To provide authors with effective guidance and promote integrity in bioethics research, bioethics journals should adopt authorship policies that address several important topics, such as the qualifications for authorship, describing authorship contributions, taking responsibility for the research and the difference between authorship in empirical and conceptual research.

Footnotes

  • Funding This research was supported, in part, by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and National Institutes of Health (NIH). It does not represent the views of the NIEHS, NIH, Health Canada or the US or Canadian governments. At the time of performing this study, ZM was also affiliated with the Sprott Centre for Stem Cell Research and the Regenerative Medicine Program of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, University of Ottawa.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

Relevant Article