Authorship issues are one of the most common issues that COPE members have to deal with. Leaving aside the ethically problematic issues of ghost, guest and gift authorship, seemingly simpler authorship disputes of for example, who deserves authorship, or what author order should be are very common across most disciplines.
There a number of authorship guidelines, including those from the ICMJE, but even journals that use these guidelines encounter problems with understanding of the issues and compliance from authors. COPE has flowcharts, which can at least help with handling issues once they arise.
However, it is now not clear whether authorship guidelines reflect current research practices, let alone future needs, and there is increasing discussion whether contributorship or some other method should be used instead.
Questions for discussion:
- How frequently do you see authorship disputes at your journal – and if so of what type?
- Does your discipline have specific authorship guidelines?
- Have you considered using contributorship criteria instead?
- Could COPE usefully provide further guidance in this area?
As well as those at the meeting in London, we would like to extend the discussion to those unable to attend the meeting, by commenting here, so please do leave your comments.