COPE was invited to speak on responsible authorship in this panel discussion. Charon Pierson gave a view from COPE with an analysis of 134 authorship cases that have been submitted to COPE, by members, for discussion and advice.
The qualitative analysis of cases related to authorship and contributorship reflects several broad categories of intentional and unintentional behaviours by authors that editors find difficult to manage. The five most common problems include: claims of stolen data, methods, or intellectual content (31%); incomplete, inconclusive, or suspicious institutional investigations (18%); undeclared conflicts of interest (18%); misconduct in conducting, analysing, or reporting findings (19%); and duplicate publication or salami slicing (14%).
Specific author behaviours leading to disputes include: questionable changes to author list after submission (27%); submission without knowledge of one or more authors (19%); claims of unacknowledged authorship (21%); ghost, guest or gift authors (19%); disputed order of authorship (7%); and forged paperwork (7%). An analysis of one case was presented to illustrate the complexity of competing claims, unresolved investigations, and legal issues faced by an editor attempting to resolve a dispute prior to publishing a paper.