Authorship at Berkeley Lab
As part of our stewardship values, Berkeley Lab has a responsibility for ensuring those who have made substantive intellectual contributions to research outcomes are given due credit as authors, and that those named as authors understand the responsibilities for their research outputs. These recommendations may help in clarifying author and contributor roles at Berkeley Lab.
Determining Authorship and Contributorship
Authorship and contributorship is determined by the research participants in accordance with the standards for their research fields, department/division guidelines as well as the requirements of the publishers of research outcomes. For example, the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) has published recommendations on the role of authors and contributors that in this or similar form are adopted by scientific journals across disciplines. Our recommendations are based on these.
- All members of the group named as authors should meet all four criteria for authorship:
- Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; AND
- Contributions to drafting the work or revising it for intellectual content; AND
- Final approval of the version to be published; AND
- Agreement to be accountable for their contributions to the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.
- All those designated as authors should meet all four criteria for authorship, and all who meet the four criteria should be identified as authors. Those who do not meet all four criteria should be acknowledged. Honorary or guest and gift or courtesy contributor or authorships, which convey contributor or authorship to persons that have not made meaningful contributions to a study, should not be allowed.
- These criteria are intended to reserve the status of contributor or authorship for those who deserve credit and can take responsibility for the work. The criteria are not intended for use as a means to disqualify individuals from authorship who otherwise meet authorship criteria by denying them the opportunity to to meet 1.b. or 1.c. above. Therefore, all individuals who meet criteria 1.a above should have the opportunity to participate in the review, drafting, and final approval of the manuscript. Reasonable efforts should be made to reach all co-authors during this process.
- It is the collective responsibility of the authors to determine that all people named as authors meet all four criteria. If agreement cannot be reached about who qualifies for authorship, Berkeley Lab will provide arbitration. When a large multi-author group has conducted the work, the group should identify the individuals who accept direct responsibility for the research output.
Contributors who meet fewer than all four criteria listed in “Determining Authorship and Contributorship” for authorship should not be listed as authors, but they should be acknowledged.
- Examples of activities that in itself do not qualify a contributor or authorship are acquisitions of funding without substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; general supervision of a research group or general administrative support; writing assistance, technical editing, language editing, and proofreading.
- Those whose contributions do not justify authorship may be acknowledged individually or together as a group, and their contributions should be specified (e.g., “served as scientific advisors,” “critically reviewed the study proposal,” “collected data,” “provided and cared for study patients”, “participated in writing or technical editing of the manuscript”).
- Scientific or technical writing assistance must be disclosed to journals to which manuscripts are submitted for publication, and should be acknowledged in the manuscript.
- Acknowledgments may imply endorsement by acknowledged individuals of a study’s data and conclusions. The corresponding or lead author should consider obtaining written permission in advance from all individuals to be acknowledged.
The individuals who conduct the work are responsible for identifying who meets the authorship criteria and ideally should do so when planning the work, making modifications as appropriate as the work progresses. To avoid disputes, it is advised to discuss and document authorship expectations in advance of any research project.
- The group should decide who will be an author before the work is started, document that decision and confirm who is an author prior to any publication of research outcomes, placing manuscripts on preprint servers or submitting them for publication.
- The criteria used to determine the order in which authors are listed on the byline may vary, and are to be decided collectively by the author group in advance.
- Reasonable efforts must be made to inform all prospective authors of their authorship and to provide them with the opportunity to comment on a manuscript or published research output prior to submission or posting of manuscripts on a preprint server.
- All authors should approve the final manuscript, and they should be able to take public responsibility for the work and should have full confidence in the accuracy and integrity of the work of other group authors.
- In situations where contributors or authors pass away prior to publication and were not able to provide their consent to authorship, the group of contributors should take a collective decision about authorship, based on the criteria listed under, “Determining Authorship and Contributorship” above. The deceased status of such a contributor should be noted on any research outcome where feasible.
- International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) includes a set of guidelines for standardizing the ethics, preparation and formatting of manuscripts submitted to biomedical journals for publication.
- Office of the NIH Ombudsman includes best practices for improving communication and working relationships between scientists.
- Collaboration and Team Science: A Field Guide from NIH includes topics such as creating a shared vision, building and sustaining trust, team evolution, handling conflict, and leadership.
- “An Early Career Perspective on the Opportunities and Challenges of Team Science” is a viewpoint article that identifies the challenges that early career scholars in research are facing with suggestions that can benefit early career scholars and team science.