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Research Authorship procedure

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) This Procedure is effective from 26 June 2020.

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Section 2 - Purpose

(2) This Procedure identifies the criteria for authorship and the responsibilities of authors, as outlined in the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, 2018 (the Code), and the supporting NHMRC Authorship Guide.

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Section 3 - Scope

(3) This Procedure applies to the authorship of all research outputs (including non-traditional research outputs) and the attribution of authorship in other documents related to research.

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Section 4 - Policy

(4) This Procedure is pursuant to the Research Conduct policy.

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Section 5 - Procedure

Criteria of authorship

(5) To be eligible as an author, an individual must:

  1. have made a significant intellectual or scholarly contribution to the research and its output, (see clause 6) and
  2. agree to be listed as an author.

(6) A significant intellectual or scholarly contribution must include:

  1. drafting significant parts of the research output or critically revising it so as to contribute to its interpretation, and at least two of the following:
    1. conception and design of the project or output
    2. acquisition of research data where the acquisition has required significant intellectual judgment, planning, design, or input (excluding activities involved in funding acquisition)
    3. contribution of knowledge, where justified, including Indigenous knowledge, or
    4. analysis and interpretation of research data.

(7) Authorship should not be attributed on the basis of:

  1. the provision of materials, infrastructure or access to equipment
  2. the provision of routine technical support, technical advice or technical assistance
  3. the position or profession of an individual, such as their role as the author’s supervisor or head of department (‘gift authorship’)
  4. whether the contribution was paid for or voluntary, or
  5. the status of an individual who has not made a significant intellectual or scholarly contribution being such that it would elevate the esteem of the research (‘guest authorship’).

(8) If an author is deceased:

  1. this should be noted in the publication
  2. all the co-authors must have confidence in the accuracy and integrity of that author’s contribution, and
  3. provided there are no grounds to believe this person would have objected to being included as an author, they can be included in a research output, with the Head of Academic Unit signing on their behalf.

(9) Authorship on other documents related to research, such as research proposals, grant applications, reports for funding agencies, tenders, patent and patent applications should follow the relevant legal or regulatory requirements. Authorship on such documents does not automatically entitle an individual to authorship on any related research output.

Authorship agreement

(10) Where there is more than one author, a discussion about authorship should commence early in the project development. An authorship agreement must be prepared prior to the development of research outputs and reviewed throughout the life of the research.

(11) Whilst not required to be a formal document, the authorship agreement should include:

  1. identification of those who will be recognised as the authors of the research output
  2. a description of the contribution that each author will make to the research output
  3. an indication of the order in which the authors appear. The agreed order and fair attribution of authors should be consistent with any applicable disciplinary norms and publication requirements, and
  4. identification of at least one corresponding author who is responsible for communication with the publisher and managing communication between the co-authors.
It is recommended that researchers use the Authorship agreement template.

(12) The corresponding author has primary responsibility for:

  1. ensuring that all contributors to the research output are properly recognised regardless of their position or any changes in their position or role, including students and junior researchers
  2. maintaining records of an authorship agreement and authorship statement and any amendments to that agreement/statement
  3. obtaining written approval from all authors for the final publication of the research output
  4. communicating between the publisher and co-authors, and
  5. periodically consulting with all authors to review the authorship agreement to ensure consistency with the criteria of authorship, especially if new people become involved in the research and make a significant intellectual or scholarly contribution.

(13) If the corresponding author is not a Deakin staff member or student, the Deakin research team must ensure copies of the authorship agreement, the authorship statement and any amendments are kept at Deakin.

(14) If an author becomes aware of an author or contributor who has been inadvertently omitted, they must inform the corresponding author.

Authorship statement

(15) A person who qualifies as an author must not be included or excluded in the research output without their written consent (authorship statement). The authorship statement should be provided by each author in a timely fashion prior to output dissemination.

(16) The authorship statement (which may be confirmed by email) will include consent to be included or excluded as an author and a brief description of the author’s contribution to the work. It is recommended that researchers use the Authorship statement template.

(17) If an author cannot be contacted after reasonable attempts have been made, all the co-authors must still have confidence in the accuracy and integrity of the author’s contribution before including or excluding them. The Head of Academic Unit may sign on behalf of an author that cannot be contacted. An author should not be included if there are grounds to believe that the person would have objected to being included. Where contributing individuals are not named as authors, the corresponding authors will retain documentary evidence of reasonable attempts made to obtain consent.

Record keeping

(18) The authorship agreement, authorship statements and all written or electronic communications in relation to authorship will be stored in line with data retention requirements for the project.

Responsibilities of Authors

(19) Prior to publication, authors are responsible for:

  1. ensuring the accuracy and integrity of their direct contributions to the research output
  2. taking reasonable steps to ensure the accuracy and integrity of the contributions of all other authors
  3. raising any concerns about the accuracy and integrity of the research before submission or publication, and
  4. approving the research output and final version before publication.

(20) Where feasible, authors should be able to identify which co-authors are responsible for specific parts of the work.

(21) Deakin Researchers who are authors on a publication that requires ethical approval (human research ethics or animal ethics), must be satisfied that ethical approval has been obtained and the research study was conducted in accordance with the minimum standards of the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research 2007 or Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes (the Code). This applies to research conducted in countries other than Australia.

(22) Following publication, authors must:

  1. ensure that any concerns about the accuracy or integrity of any part of the output are responded to appropriately. This may require providing all necessary evidence for their contribution, or seeking such evidence from co-authors, and
  2. correct the public record by way of erratum or retraction where required.

Acknowledgement of other contributions

(23) Contributions to research that do not meet the criteria for authorship should be acknowledged appropriately with the contributor’s permission.

(24) Research infrastructure should be acknowledged in research outputs.

(25) Research intending to publish Indigenous knowledge obtained through sources including unpublished manuscript, or audio or video recordings, or verbal knowledge (e.g. yarning) should seek approval from the Indigenous people involved in the project, or the community from which that knowledge originates and the individual and collective contributors of the knowledge should be acknowledged, as appropriate.

Authorship dispute resolution

(26) Parties involved in authorship dispute should initially attempt to resolve the matter through a review of the existing authorship agreement/statement.

(27) Advice may be sought from a Research Integrity Adviser who can provide advice on the appropriateness of the inclusion of each author listed in the agreement/statement, based on their documented contributions.

(28) If a power imbalance exists between authors in a dispute, junior authors may wish to seek the support of a third party such as a HDR Coordinator, provided that person is not a practicing lawyer.

(29) The Head of Academic Unit (or their line manager if they are an author) will assist in resolving disputes and make a determination relating to:

  1. author contribution;
  2. unwillingness to accept authorship and/or accountability of contribution;
  3. obstruction of progress of a research project or output; or
  4. failing to cooperate with co-authors.
Where authors are from multiple institutions, the Head of Academic Unit will act in consultation with their counterpart at the external institution/s, if possible.

(30) Where a potential breach of the Code regarding authorship exists, the matter will be managed in accordance with the Research Integrity Breach Procedure.

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Section 6 - Definitions

(31) For the purpose of this Procedure:

  1. Author: An individual who has made a significant intellectual or scholarly contribution to research and its output and who has agreed to be listed as an author.
  2. Authorship agreement: an agreement prepared in discussion with authors, prior to the development of research outputs that includes:
    1. identification of those who will be recognised as the authors of the research output
    2. a description of the contribution that each author will make to the research output an indication of the order in which the authors appear. The agreed order and fair
    3. attribution of authors should be consistent with any applicable disciplinary norms and publication requirements, and
    4. identification of at least one corresponding author who is responsible for communication with the publisher and managing communication between the coauthors.
  3. Authorship statement: a written statement from a person who qualifies as an author, consenting to be included or excluded as an author, and includes a brief description of the author’s contribution to the work.
  4. Corresponding author: The author who is, as agreed by all co-authors, responsible for communication between the publishers, managing communication between the co-authors and maintaining records of the authorship agreement and authorship statement.
  5. Research Output: A research output communicates or makes available the findings of research that may be in hardcopy, electronic or other form. Examples of research outputs include journal articles, book chapters, books, conference papers, reports, datasets, patents and patent applications, performances, videos and exhibitions.