We publish mini-reviews of important articles from the medical literature. In order to give the authors of reviewed articles a chance to respond to the review, we have now started to contact the corresponding author once a review of their article has been published on our website. If an author responds, we wish to publish their comments underneath the review.
Do we need to get formal verification on whether the author is writing on his/her own behalf or on behalf of the other named authors? Or can we just rely on clarification with the author by email?
Would a response from a single author or just some of the authors be allowed, if clearly stated so on the published response?
The Forum agreed that is was acceptable for a single author to reply if it was made clear in the published response that this was the case. However, it is normal practice for the corresponding author to reply on behalf of all of the authors. A good corresponding author will contact the other authors with his response and obtain their approval. It was suggested that a box could be provided, to be ticked by the corresponding author to confirm that the co-authors have agreed that the corresponding author is replying on behalf of all of the authors. Clarification by email is acceptable.
We are ensuring that all author responses clearly state on behalf of which of the authors the response has been sent. Also, we do allow author responses which are sent on behalf of only some members of the author group. We consider this case now closed.