Presentation on theme: "Authorship APS Professional Skills Course:"— Presentation transcript:
1 Authorship APS Professional Skills Course: Writing and Reviewing for Scientific JournalsThis presentation is part of the APS Professional Skills Course "Writing and Reviewing for Journals." If you're not familiar with the features of the Articulate Presenter format, pause the presentation, click on the Attachments tab at the top right, and read the instructions file. Note you can print out the slides and script on this tab as well. Your presentation will begin in a moment.
2 Authorship Issues When is authorship assigned? Who is entitled to be an author?What are the responsibilities of an author?In what order should authors be listed?What are the career implications to authorship position?During your career, you will find that authorship is one of the most important issues you will need to deal with. In this lesson, we will discuss the following topics:When do you decide who will be an author on a paper?Who is entitled to be an author?What are the responsibilities of an author?In what order should authors be listed?andWhat does being a first, last, or middle author mean?In this lesson, we will discuss the formal criteria for authorship. However, you should be aware that authorship is often interpreted differently by individual researchers. Communication between you and your mentors and collaborators is essential to productive collaborations and is crucial in assigning authorship.
3 Authorship DecisionsDecide on authors and their order as early as possibleNotify all authors of any changes that occurFollow the policies of the specific journalAuthorship should be discussed and decided upon as early as possible, even before the research has begun and certainly before you begin to write. Practically, though, that may not be feasible. People come and go in the lab and names often need to be added later in the development process because the study can change direction or focus depending on the results of the initial experiments.Open communication is critical. Serious conflicts can be avoided by ongoing dialogue during the research, writing, and review processes. Do not make assumptions about authorship. Discuss it with those involved in the research and writing, especially the person who makes the final decisions.Before a manuscript is submitted for review, authors can be added and dropped from the author list depending on their role. Of course, this should never be a surprise to anyone involved. Changes to the author list should be discussed, and even authors who play a minor role in the research should be notified.After a manuscript is submitted to a journal, if you decide to add or delete names or change the order of authors, you need to check on the journal’s policy. Many times you will need to submit additional documentation to the journal with some or all authors’ signatures agreeing to the changes.
4 Why is Authorship an Issue? Authorship has valueResearchers want/need credit for their workAuthorship carries responsibilityGreater awareness and sensitivity to scientific misconductAuthorship describes professional collaborationsIncreased number of authors per paperWhy is authorship such a big issue?First, researchers deserve and need credit for the work they do. That credit has value – it can make the difference in getting a job, a grant, or a promotion. It also clearly attributes the work to those who were involved.This is especially important with respect to professional accountability. Recent scandals on data fabrication and other types of misconduct have made researchers acutely aware that being an author on a paper isn’t just an honor. Authorship comes with responsibility for the content and conclusions of that paper.Finally, authorship describes important professional collaborations. The number of authors per paper has increased dramatically. In 1980 there were, on average, 3 authors per paper. Now in the molecular biology era, there are, on average, 5 to 6 authors per paper. It’s not only important that all collaborators are on the list of authors, but also there is value in where one’s name appears within the list.
5 ICMJE Criteria for Authorship International Council of Medical Journal Editors – ICMJE1) Contributed to the intellectual content of the workConception or design of the workData acquisitionData analysis and interpretation2) Draft, critically review, or revise manuscript3) Approve final version of manuscript for submissionBecause authorship is an important issue for scientists, policy groups have developed rules and guidelines to help researchers in this process. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (or ICMJE) recommends that anyone who is listed as an author on a manuscript needs to have made significantly contributions in three areas.First, they have contributed to the intellectual content of the study, whether by helping to design the study, helping to run and trouble-shoot the experiments, or helping to analyze and interpret the data.Second, they have helped write or substantially edit the manuscript.Third, they have approved the final version of the manuscript, which means they agree with the content of the entire manuscript at the time of submission.The ICMJE rules are not the only proposed methods for assigning authorship.
6 Alternative Authorship Criteria Contributorship ModelExplicit disclosure to the reader of every participant’s contribution to the work and to the articleQuantitative Uniform Authorship Declaration (QUAD) SystemAuthors are listed in descending order of total contributions across four categoriesConception and designData collectionData analysis and conclusionsManuscript preparationA contributorship model has also been used by some journals. In this model, all authors describe clearly in the manuscript their contribution to the work.The QUAD system takes this one step further. Authors indicate their percentage of overall work in each of four areas: conception and design, data collection, data analysis and conclusions, and manuscript preparation.
7 Authorship is NOT awarded… To honor someone for past contributions to the fieldTo honor someone for being the senior person in the lab or departmentFor political reasonsTo reward someone for serviceThere should not be “hidden” authorsEach of these methods states that certain types of authorship are inappropriate.Authorship should not be awarded to honor someone for past contributions to the field. This is sometimes called a “guest authorship.”Similarly, authorship is not awarded simply for being the senior person in a lab or department.It’s not awarded for political reasons or to reward people for their service.Finally, there should not be hidden authorships such as hired writers whose names do not appear on the manuscript.
8 Key Authorship Criteria An author must be willing to take public responsibility for the ENTIRE content of a manuscriptIn practice, it is unlikely that every author will understand all the intricate details of every experiment. However, each author should understand what the paper is about, why the experiments were necessary, where the experiments came from, and why it was important to use the selected techniques. Every author should agree with the analysis and conclusions. And every author must be publicly willing to take responsibility for the ENTIRE content of any manuscript of which he/she is an author.Authorship comes with significant responsibility. Accepting an authorship on a manuscript when you are not fully aware of the work done and the results presented can do damage to your reputation and, at worst, could put your career in jeopardy.The safest choice: Be an author only on papers where you meet the criteria.
9 Authorship Responsibilities Authors must be willing to…Defend the intellectual content of the manuscript, including results and conclusionsConcede publicly any errorsIn the case of fraud, state publicly its nature and extent and account for its occurrenceAuthors must certify that…The manuscript is original work without fabrication, fraud, or plagiarismThe manuscript has been submitted to only one journal for considerationAny conflicts of interest by any author have been disclosedWhat are the responsibilities of an author? Authors must be willing to defend the content of the paper, including the results and conclusions, and be willing to admit when errors were made.Sometimes in a multi-author work, you have to rely in good faith on your collaborators behaving ethically because you don’t have the expertise to know exactly what they did in the experiments. Even though you rely on them, you still have the responsibility for the data because you are an author.If it turns out that there was fraud by one of the other authors, then you need to be accountable and willing to state in public what it involved and why it happened, even if you were not directly involved. Clearly, it’s very important to pick your collaborators carefully so that you can depend on them.When you submit a manuscript, most journals will require each author to sign a form certifying that the manuscript is original work, that it is not currently being submitted to or under consideration by another journal, and that any conflicts of interest have been disclosed.What if you have already published this work in an abstract for a meeting? That does not affect the claim of original work, since you are now submitting the entire article. However, you cannot publish a paper that is largely the same as a previously published paper.
10 Acknowledgement vs. Authorship Acknowledge those who contributed but don’t meet all the authorship criteriaCommon acknowledgments:Intellectual contributionsTechnical contributionsFinancial contributions (grants, awards)How do you decide when you should mention a colleague in the acknowledgements rather than including them as an author?Strictly speaking, unless the person meets all three criteria of authorship as outlined by the ICMJE, they should be included in the acknowledgement section. That is the place to thank people for making intellectual, technical, or financial contributions to the work in the paper.However, in real life, you may be faced with negotiating authorship with those who don’t meet all three criteria. People who have special reagents, clones, or specialized equipment often want authorship when you make use of their materials. At that point, you have to decide what is most appropriate and what the specific journal allows.Remember that each person who is an author carries the responsibilities of authorship. You are still bound to send them the drafts of the manuscript for comment and editing.
11 Authorship Agreements Who will do most of the writing?Who will deal with the editors?Who will manage revisions?Who will be responsible for settling disputes among authors?Once you know who the authors will be, you need to decide who will write each section, who will deal with the editors, and who will manage the revisions.Generally, it is the first author and the principal investigator (PI) or senior person in laboratory who take the lead on these issues. It is really a joint decision between those two persons but the principal investigator has the final say. This is where communication is so important between you and your advisor or PI.If there are disputes, the PI or senior author has the final say. In accepting grant funding, the PI has accepted legal responsibility for making sure the work is done. Therefore, the PI is in charge of the overall project.If there is a conflict, journal editors do not want the role of arbiter between authors. In general, they won’t make these decisions. It is up to the authors to work disputes out collegially.
12 Order of Authors Depends on Journal First author and last author See “Instructions for Authors”First author and last authorTypically the most importantSome journals have “equal contributors” authorsIs the order of authors important? It depends on the specific journal. Be sure to read the Instructions for Authors to find out the journal’s policy before discussing authorship with your colleagues.The most important positions generally are the first and last authors on the paper. The middle names are usually lined up according to the level of their contribution.Some journals allow you to state that several authors contributed equally to the manuscript. However, this is not the general rule.Again, this is why communication is critical between all the authors during the experimental and manuscript preparation process. There should be no surprises at the end of the manuscript development. Everyone should know what to expect.
13 Examples from APS Journals First author (principal author)Primarily responsible for collecting and analyzing dataOften writes manuscript draftVery important for traineesLast author (senior author)Principal investigatorCarries overall responsibility for the studyOften the corresponding authorVery important for new investigatorsAs an example of journal requirements, let’s look at the APS journals. In these journals, the first author is the person who completed the experiments, analyzed the data, and wrote the paper.The last author typically is the PI or senior person in the lab who is responsible for the study. Often the senior author serves as the Corresponding Author because the first author is moving on to his or her new job. The Corresponding Author communicates with the editors and answers questions about the research from reviewers or readers.It is important for trainees to have published first-author papers when it’s time to look for a postdoctoral or permanent position. A trainee who is a “middle” author on 10 papers is not as strong a candidate as a trainee who has one or two first-author papers on his or her vita. The latter candidate may be regarded as having greater potential to become an independent investigator.Once you have your own lab and mentor your own students, you’ll move to the end of the list of authors. This is an important career step, and one that tenure and promotion committees will look for.
14 Authorship ProblemsFirst author (trainee) and advisor/PI don’t agree on authorsAdvisor/PI includes/deletes authors without discussing with traineeMany authors vs. 2-author paperBecause authorship is so important to scientists and their careers, problems can arise when deciding who will be an author. Be aware of the three commonly held criteria for authorship and discuss them with your advisor or PI. Also discuss the responsibilities that come with being an author. This is important in understanding your advisor’s or senior collaborator’s perspectives on these issues. There may be a time when the two of you do not agree on who should be an author. You may even receive a draft of your manuscript and see that authors have been added or deleted without your knowledge. If you’ve already had a good conversation about authorship, you have laid the groundwork for discussing these issues with your advisor, PI, or senior collaborator.As the number of collaborators on research projects increases, the number of authors on papers increases. Consequently, there are more opinions to deal with regarding who is an author and who is responsible for the work. Trainees today are far less likely than ten years ago to produce manuscripts where they and their advisor are the sole authors.
15 It Comes with Experience… What to do when you have been left off as an authorHow to handle co-workers asking to be included as an authorWhat to do when you are a secondary author and you have concerns about the manuscript contentWhen to challenge a person of position on an authorship issue (advisor/dept. chair)Trainees often worry about authorship of their first papers. This is understandable: They want to establish their credentials in a competitive field. Trainees must also recognize that they are in vulnerable positions. Although they may have done most of the work on their manuscripts, they do not have the authority to make final decisions about how the manuscripts are handled. Some of the more common problems are listed here.What do you do when you did work on a set of experiments or worked on the manuscript but your name does not appear as an author?What do you do when a co-worker or fellow student offers to do an experiment or edit a manuscript for you in exchange for being listed as an author?What do you do when you read a manuscript on which you are a “middle” author and something in the results or methods doesn’t seem right?When should you challenge an advisor, PI, or department chair about an authorship issue?We all hear horror stories involving authorship issues. Most of them can be resolved collegially. Step number one is to talk with your advisor. If your advisor is the problem, you can discuss the matter confidentially with a trusted mentor. Don’t ignore it and hope it will go away. However, in all honesty, not all authorship issues are resolved in the way that the trainee hopes for. As you become more experienced, you will feel more comfortable discussing authorship issues with colleagues and students.
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