Authorship of Research Policy

Document Number000856
Date Approved25 June 2008
Date Last Amended3 August 2012

1.     Introduction

Authorship of a research publication is an acknowledgement of the substantial contribution made by a researcher. It carries with it both recognition of work done and responsibility for the material contributed. Authorship must therefore be attributed with due regard for the appropriate conventions. This policy outlines those conventions. It supports the principles articulated in the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research and the University’s Responsible Conduct of Research Policy and should be read in conjunction with these documents.

2.     Policy Intent

This policy provides a clear statement of the criteria for authorship and the protocols for acknowledging authorship and seeks to recognise the restrictions associated with commercial publication. It also seeks to avert conflict by providing clear guidelines on the attribution of authorship and provides a mechanism for the resolution of disputes.

3.     Policy Principles

3.1    Attributing Authorship

i.   Authorship must be based on substantial scholarly contribution to the work through one or more of the following:

a.   conception and design of the research;

b.   determination, analysis and interpretation of research data; and

c.   drafting or revision of significant parts of the work so as to contribute to the interpretation.

ii.  Research higher degree candidates should qualify for authorship and should be encouraged to participate in publication as an author or lead author.

iii. A person who qualifies as an author must not be included or excluded as an author without their written permission which should include a brief description of their contribution to the work.

a.    Where research is published, the responsible or lead author will be required to complete a Statement of Authorship form.  A copy of the form is included as an appendix to this policy and the completed form is to be forwarded to the School office.

b.  If an author is deceased or, despite reasonable efforts, cannot be contacted, the publication can proceed, provided there are no grounds to believe that this person would have objected to being included as an author.

3.2    Multiple Authors

i.   Where a work has several authors, agreement should be reached prior to the preparation of a manuscript on the appointment of a lead author to record authorship and to manage communication about the work with the publisher.

ii.  In disciplines where an author’s position in an authorship list has significance (e.g. first and last authorship in the biomedical sciences) researchers should reach agreement on the following prior to the preparation of a manuscript:

a.   The principles that will be used to determine the sequence of authors on any given publication.

b.   The sequence of authors.

c.   The contribution of each author to the final manuscript consistent with an author’s position in the authorship list.

3.3    Acknowledgement

i.   Contributions to research that do not meet the criteria for authorship must be acknowledged where discipline practice is consistent with such acknowledgement.  For example if a research assistant performs experiments using standard protocols and provides the chief investigator(s) with data for analysis and interpretation, acknowledgment is appropriate and authorship is not, even if the assistant generates all of the data.  By contrast, recognition of authorship may be appropriate where a research assistant provides the chief investigator with summary reports after the analysis of data obtained by performing experiments using protocols requiring adaptation and optimisation.

ii.   In disciplines where large teams undertake long term projects like multicentre clinical trials or longitudinal studies it may be appropriate for the name of the research group to be included in the authorship list and for the group’s researchers to be listed in the acknowledgements.

3.4    Resolution of Disputes

Disputes concerning authorship should be resolved through the processes outlined in the Complaints Resolution Policy.

3.5    Responsibilities of Researchers

i.   Researchers must adhere to the criteria of this policy and the principles of authorship identified in the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research and the University’s Responsible Conduct of Research Policy.

ii.  Collaborating researchers must agree on their status as an author of any publication resulting from research at an early stage in the collaboration, and this should be reviewed prior to the commencement of writing any publication evolving from research.

iii.  Researchers must offer authorship to all those - including research trainees - who meet the criteria set out in 3.1. Authorship should not be offered to those who do not meet that criteria - regardless of their role, or the extent of their technical or other contribution.

iv.  Researchers must ensure that all those who have contributed to the research, facilities or materials, are properly acknowledged where discipline conventions permit such acknowledgement. Where individuals are to be named, their written consent should be obtained.

v.   Authors of web-based publications must take responsibility for the content of the publication, and must be clearly identified in the publication in accordance with the guidelines above.

4.     Essential Supporting Documents

Complaints Resolution Policy 000745

Responsible Conduct of Research Policy 000873

Research Publication Responsibility Guidelines 000857

Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research 


Statement of Authorship Form


Approval AuthorityAcademic Senate
Date Approved25 June 2008
Date Last Amended3 August 2012
Date for Review3 August 2015
Policy SponsorDeputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)
Policy OwnerDirector, Research Services
Policy ContactDirector, Research Services
Amendment History

Minor amendments - included Amendment Date, attached Statement of Authorship Form (as Appendix) and hyperlinked supporting documents and appendix, Governance & Policy, 7 September 2012.

Amendment made to Section 3.1 under Delegated Authority approved by PAS 3 August 2012