Background Readings

Pin IL, Hawthorne K, Kraus WE, Ellis SJ, Whellan DJ. {Academia and Clinic Annals of Internal Medicine Method for Establishing Authorship in a Multicenter Clinical Trial}. Annals of Internal Medicine. Submitted.Abstract
McCue JD, Welker JA. {Authorship versus "credit" for participation in research: a case study of potential ethical dilemmas created by technical tools used by researchers and claims for authorship by their creators.}. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association : JAMIA [Internet]. Submitted;14 :16–8. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The distinction between authorship and other forms of credit for contribution to a publication has been a persisting controversy that has resulted in numerous guidelines outlining the expected contributions of those claiming authorship. While there have been flagrant, well-publicized deviations from widely accepted standards, they are largely outnumbered by cases that are not publicity-worthy, and therefore remain known to only those directly involved with the inappropriate conduct. We discuss the definition and ethical requirements of authorship, offer a case example of the authorship debate created by a technical tool at our institution, and review parallels that support and dispute the authorship claims of our software developers. Ultimately, we conclude that development of a technical tool that enables data collection does not adequately substitute for contributions to study design and manuscript preparation for authorship purposes. Unless the designers of such a technical tool prospectively participate as a part of the project, they would not have an adequate understanding of the publication's genesis to defend it publicly and cannot be listed as authors. Therefore, it is incumbent upon project members to invite tool developers to participate at the beginning of such projects, and for tool developers to contribute to study design and manuscript preparation when they desire authorship listings.

Form AS. {Questionnaire used by Ilakovac et al}. Croatian Medical Journal. Submitted.Abstract

Appendix 1 . Contribution disclosure and authorship forms used in the study First mailing : Forms to be filled out by the corresponding author

Marušić A, Bošnjak L, Jerončić A. A Systematic Review of Research on the Meaning, Ethics and Practices of Authorship across Scholarly Disciplines. PLoS ONE. 2011;6 (9).
DeAngelis CD, Fontanarosa PB, a. Flanagin, Wislar JS. {Honorary and ghost authorship in high impact biomedical journals: a cross sectional survey}. Bmj [Internet]. 2011;343 :d6128–d6128. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Venkatraman V. Conventions of Scientific Authorship. Science [Internet]. 2010. DOI
Marusić A, Marusić M, Sambunjak D, Hren D, Ivanis A. {Quantification of authors' contributions and eligibility for authorship: randomized study in a general medical journal.}. Journal of general internal medicine [Internet]. 2008;23 :1303–10. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Assessment of authorship contribution is often based on unreliable questionnaires.

Wren JD, Kozak KZ, Johnson KR, Deakyne SJ, Schilling LM, Dellavalle RP. The write position. [Internet]. 2007;8 (11) :988 - 991. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Marusic A, Marusic M, Fister K, Ilakovac V. {Reliability of disclosure forms of authors' contributions.}. CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association journal = journal de l'Association medicale canadienne [Internet]. 2007;176 :41–6. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The contribution disclosure forms used by medical journals to assess and confirm authorship are surveys of self-reported behaviour that follow the cognitive rules of psychometric instruments. We sought to analyze how autobiographical memory, defined as memory for events and issues related to oneself, affected the reliability of contribution forms for the judging of authorship of research articles.

Marušić M, Anić A, Bates T, Marušić A. {How the structure of contribution disclosure statements affects validity of authorship: a randomized study in a general medical journal*}. Current Medical Research and Opinion [Internet]. 2006;22 :1035–1044. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Einav L, Yariv L. What's in a Surname? The Effects of Surname Initials on Academic Success. The Journal of Economic Perspectives [Internet]. 2006;20 (1) :175-187. DOIAbstract

In this paper, we focus on the effects of surname initials on professional outcomes in the academic labor market for economists. We begin our analysis with data on faculty in all top 35 U.S. economics departments. Faculty with earlier surname initials are significantly more likely to receive tenure at top ten economics departments, are significantly more likely to become fellows of the Econometric Society, and, to a lesser extent, are more likely to receive the Clark Medal and the Nobel Prize. These statistically significant differences remain the same even after we control for country of origin, ethnicity, religion or departmental fixed effects. As a test, we replicate our analysis for faculty in the top 35 U.S. psychology departments, for which co-authorships are not normatively ordered alphabetically. We find no relationship between alphabetical placement and tenure status in psychology. We suspect the "alphabetical discrimination" reported in this paper is linked to the norm in the economics profession prescribing alphabetical ordering of credits on coauthored publications. We also investigate the extent to which the effects of alphabetical placement are internalized by potential authors in their choices to work with different numbers of coauthors as well as in their willingness to follow the alphabetical ordering norm.

Marusić A, Marusić M, Anić A, Bates T. {Authorship criteria and disclosure of contributions: comparison of 3 general medical journals with different author contribution forms.}. JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association [Internet]. 2004;292 :86–8. Publisher's VersionAbstract

A number of general medical journals and the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) request authors to disclose their contributions. Little is known about the effect of journal policies on authors' disclosure of their contributions.