Although there is no universally agreed definition of authorship, authorship of research publications is a major requirement for academic advancement and a common cause of disputes among colleagues. Most research on authorship issues comes from biomedicine, where the authorship criteria are those of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. In order to make informed guidelines on authorship and set directions for future research, it is important to analyze authorship requirements across different research fields, as well as the current state of research into authorship. We are therefore conducting a systematic review of literature in major bibliographical databases from different scientific disciplines. We are also examining the definition of authorship and requirements for contribution disclosure in a sample of journals from different scientific disciplines. Finally, we plan to survey editors on their concepts of authorship across scientific disciplines, and use these findings as a tool for the analysis of policy issues around authorship. This project is the research effort of Ana Marusic and her collaborators from the Croatian Medical Journal and the Croatian Centre for Public Health, University of Split School of Medicine, Split, Croatia.
Literature appraisal for the systematic review of research on authorship is completed and we are currently working on the results synthesis and manuscript preparation. We also collected data on authorship policies in journals from different disciplines, as well as definitions and policies of different professional, academic or research organizations or associations. These results are now being written up in a second manuscript.
The results of this part of the research will be presented at the Second World Conference on Research Integrity in Singapore, 21-24 July 2010, where we plan to start the Delphi process for discussing the definitions of authorship across scientific disciplines.
Research on the authorship/publication practices of editors in their own journal has been completed and the manuscript has been accepted for publication. Details of the published article will follow.