A paper was submitted crediting three authors. The paper was sent to one of the journal’s regular statistical reviewers without noticing that she happened to be the second author. She wrote back to say that she had not been involved in writing the manuscript, nor had she seen this paper before. She did say, however, that she had supervised the computer input of the questionnaire data and that she had provided some general advice on the simple statistical presentation of the data. Should any action be taken against the corresponding author, or should we simply explain what we mean by authorship and contributorship?
The editor should write to the author and take up the points raised by the statistical reviewer outlining the concerns about attribution of authorship.
The editor wrote to the author, enclosing a copy of an editorial on the differences between authorship and contributorship. The author responded, apologising for the mistake and attributing contributorship to the reviewer. The paper was published.