Authorship of research outputs procedure
To outline RMIT criteria for authorship consistent with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2007)
Procedure steps and actions
What signifies an author
To be named as an author, a researcher must have made a substantial scholarly contribution to the work and be prepared to take responsibility for at least part of the work to which he or she has contributed.
To some extent attribution of authorship depends on the particular discipline, but in all cases it is expected that a substantial contribution has been made in some combination of:
- participating in the conception and design of the project
- analysing and interpreting relevant research data, and/or
- drafting significant parts of the work or critically revising it so as to contribute to the interpretation
It is not enough to have provided materials, data or routine technical support, or have gathered the data on which the publication is based, or be part of the wider team conducting the research, with no other intellectual input. The right to authorship is not tied to position or profession; general supervision of a research group, or being Head of School, is not sufficient for authorship.
Note: Sometimes the editor of a significant collective work or anthology has responsibilities similar to those listed above for authorship. In such case, similar criteria apply to ‘editor’ as to ‘author’, but again the term should only be applied where the person has played a significant role in the intellectual shaping of a publication.
Include all authors
Researchers must offer authorship to all people, who meet the criteria for authorship above, including higher degree research students. A person who qualifies as an author must not be included or excluded as an author without their permission.
Agree on authorship and maintain signed records
Collaborating researchers should agree on authorship of a publication at an early stage in the research project and should review their decisions periodically; they should recognise that as the research project progresses, decisions on who qualifies as an author, may change.
When there is more than one co-author of the research output, one should be appointed executive author to record authorship and to manage communication about the work with the publisher. The authors should discuss and reach agreement on the order in which the authors will be listed.
A written record of these decisions should be retained in the executive author’s School. If an author is deceased or cannot be contacted, the publication can proceed with this person named as an author provided there are no grounds to believe this person would have objected to being included as an author; in this instance the Head of School or other appropriate person may sign the relevant documentation.
Acknowledgment of other contributions
Other persons who have contributed to the research who are not authors, such as research assistants, technical writers and technical support, and all those who have contributed facilities or materials, should be acknowledged.
Authors of web-based publications must be able to take responsibility for the publication’s content and all authors must be clearly identified in the publication.[Next: Supporting documents and information ]