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Authorship is a complex topic, with expectations described here.

Definitions:

  • Submission of work - includes conference presentations, conference publications, journal submissions, and any other public form of research dissemination.
  • Authorship - inclusion of name of researcher on list of authors of submission.
  • Acknowledgement - Inclusion of name of researcher in the body of the submission acknowledging their contributions.
  • Product - any tangible output from funding including patents, marketable devices, publications, etc.
  • Resources - see CreDIT taxonomy for full definition. Resources include money, time, ideas, materials, specimens, etc. 
  • CreDIT taxonomy contributor roles:
    • Conceptualization – Ideas; formulation or evolution of overarching research goals and aims.
    • Data curation – Management activities to annotate (produce metadata), scrub data and maintain research data (including software code, where it is necessary for interpreting the data itself) for initial use and later re-use.
    • Formal analysis – Application of statistical, mathematical, computational, or other formal techniques to analyze or synthesize study data.
    • Funding acquisition - Acquisition of the financial support for the project leading to this publication.
    • Investigation – Conducting a research and investigation process, specifically performing the experiments, or data/evidence collection.
    • Methodology – Development or design of methodology; creation of models.
    • Project administration – Management and coordination responsibility for the research activity planning and execution.
    • Resources – Provision of study materials, reagents, materials, patients, laboratory samples, animals, instrumentation, computing resources, or other analysis tools.
    • Software – Programming, software development; designing computer programs; implementation of the computer code and supporting algorithms; testing of existing code components.
    • Supervision – Oversight and leadership responsibility for the research activity planning and execution, including mentorship external to the core team.
    • Validation – Verification, whether as a part of the activity or separate, of the overall replication/reproducibility of results/experiments and other research outputs.
    • Visualization – Preparation, creation and/or presentation of the published work, specifically visualization/data presentation.
    • Writing – original draft – Preparation, creation and/or presentation of the published work, specifically writing the initial draft (including substantive translation).
    • Writing – review & editing – Preparation, creation and/or presentation of the published work by those from the original research group, specifically critical review, commentary or revision – including pre- or post-publication stages.

This flow chart applies to publications and submissions. The same flow chart should be applied to patents and products, but with the additional layer of legal inventor aspects of patented/marketed products. 

Corresponding authors must ensure that all participants have had an opportunity to contribute to a CRediT Taxonomy for each project to reflect contributions to the project and assess authorship involvement and authorship order.

All projects must include a CreDIT taxonomy either in the published form, posted to the relevant channel on Slack, or emailed. 

Not that THESE CRITERIA DO NOT CONSTITUTE AUTHORSHIP, they are designed to achieve transparency about multiple levels and types of contributions to scientific research. 

When working through authorship decisions, it is best to make final authorship order decisions once the project is completed and the manuscript is very close to being submitted.  Early promises and assumptions about authorship on projects can be problematic given changing priorities and availabilities.


When deciding on the threshold for authorship and for authorship order, pay special attention to issues related to bias and equity.  There is a long history in scientific publishing of equivalent work being unequally represented in authorship, authorship order, and acknowledgements.  Careful, open, and thoughtful review of CReDIT taxonomy can help resolve these issues.  Publication of the CReDIT taxonomy is an excellent pathway for multi-authored papers so that it is clear for posterity how contributions were established.


Be generous and inclusive, both in terms of including authors, and also with giving ideas and help freely to others without assuming an authorship exchange.  Both pathways are excellent for building networks and positive, supportive fields.


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