Authorship is term that refers to the process of determining whose names are to appear on a research paper and who is to be designated as an author on a paper. In this policy, BAU provides a clear portrayal of what comprises “Authorship” and the order in which authors should be listed. BAU is also keen on guaranteeing that the staff, students and research collaborators who have participated in research activities are acknowledged for their participation and that their contributions are fairly and appropriately recognized. Certain collaborators, according to their role and participation in the research paper, may demand acknowledgement while others may demand joint authorship.
Authorship is reserved for individuals who have made significant contributions to the research activity. According to the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), to be considered an author one should meet the following criteria:
- Contribute significantly to the idea, design, execution, or analysis and elucidation of data
- Participate in drafting, reviewing, and/or revising the manuscript
- Approve the final version of the manuscript to be published
- Be ready to assume public responsibility for the paper
Members who did not have a share in all of these four criteria are not to be portrayed as authors, but are to be acknowledged, and their role in the research activity should be defined. The decision of including or excluding a member from authorship should be a resolution reached by the members of the research team. Some researches mistakenly believe that if they are involved in the collection of data, acquisition of funding, general supervision of a research group or general administrative support or writing assistance, technical editing, language editing, and proofreading, then they will be considered for authorship. Therefore, it is important to emphasize the above criteria for eligibility to authorship.
The research team is also to discuss the possibility of acknowledging the contributions of other parties. Usually, these contributions are to be cited under the "acknowledgments" section in a paper.
In case of the participation of a paid research expert in the research activity, it is up to the research team to decide whether this expert is to be considered an author. The decision whether to consider these paid experts as authors depends on their contribution to the intellectual content of the publication. If the contribution is considerable, then they may be deliberated as authors; if not, then they are acknowledged for their role but not considered as authors.
When several authors are involved in the research publication, then one of them is to be selected as the main author. It is important to note that the main author need not be the principal investigator.
The “main author” is to be selected by the team and is considered as a co-author. He/she is to be in charge of the manuscript and is to deal with all the managerial issues and may also serve as the corresponding author, in addition to providing a substantial contribution to the research activity. The main author is to be held accountable of the whole work in general and is to provide a draft of the manuscript to all of the co-authors to review and to give their consensus and approval to the final version of the manuscript.
The order of appearance of author names is a collective decision of all of the co-authors in the research team which is to be discussed at the beginning of the project and it is not dictated by the University.
The co-authors together should decide on the order of appearance of author names on the research paper; however if they were not able to reach a decision, then the Head of the Department is to intervene to help resolve the issue. If the dispute is still not resolved, then the Dean of Faculty is to be consulted.