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Authorship policies of scientific journals
  1. David B Resnik1,
  2. Ana M Tyler2,
  3. Jennifer R Black3,
  4. Grace Kissling1
  1. 1National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA
  2. 2National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA
  3. 3National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr David B Resnik, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Box 12233, Mail Drop CU 108, Research Triangle Park NC 27709, USA; resnikd{at}niehs.nih.gov

Abstract

We analysed the authorship policies of a random sample of 600 journals from the Journal Citation Reports database. 62.5% of the journals we sampled had an authorship policy. Having an authorship policy was positively associated with impact factor. Journals from the biomedical sciences and social sciences/humanities were more likely to have an authorship policy than journals from the physical sciences, engineering or mathematical sciences. Among journals with a policy, the most frequent type of policy was guidance on criteria for authorship (99.7%); followed by guidance on acknowledgments (97.3%); requiring that authors make substantial contributions to the research (94.7%); requiring that authors be accountable for the research as a whole (84.8%); guidance on changes in authorship (77.9%); requiring that authors give final approval to the manuscript (77.6%); requiring that authors draft or critically revise the manuscript (71.7%); providing guidance on corporate authorship (58.9%); prohibiting gift, guest or ghost authorship (31.7%); requiring authors to describe their contributions (5.3%); limiting the number of authors for some types of articles (4.0%) and requiring authors to be accountable for their part in the research (1.1%). None of the policies addressed equal contribution statements. Journals that do not have authorship policies should consider adopting or developing ones.

  • Research Ethics
  • Publication Ethics

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