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The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors guidelines

A point that is starting a discussion of authorship may be the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) guidelines. In 1978, a small number of editors of general medical journals met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, to determine guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became referred to as Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the National Library of Medicine, were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group evolved and expanded in to the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, which meets annually. The ICMJE gradually has broadened its concerns to include ethical principles related to publication in biomedical journals. Over the years, ICMJE has issued updated versions of what exactly are called Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals as well as other statements relating to editorial policy. The essential recent update was in November 2003. Approximately 500 journals that are biomedical to the guidelines.

In accordance with the ICMJE guidelines:

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  • Authorship credit should be according to 1) substantial contributions to conception and design, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of information; 2) drafting the content or revising it critically for important intellectual content; and 3) final approval for the version to be published. Authors should meet conditions 1, 2, and 3.
  • When a big, multi-center group has conducted the task, the group should identify the people who accept direct responsibility for the manuscript. These people should fully meet the criteria for authorship defined above and editors will ask these individuals to perform author that is journal-specific conflict of interest disclosure forms. When submitting an organization author manuscript, the author that is corresponding clearly indicate the most well-liked citation and should clearly identify all individual authors as well as the group name. Journals will generally list other people in the group when you look at the acknowledgements. The National Library of Medicine indexes the group name additionally the names of people the group has defined as being directly in charge of the manuscript.
  • Acquisition of funding, number of data, or general supervision for the research group, alone, does not justify authorship.
  • Each author needs to have participated sufficiently within the strive to take responsibility that is public appropriate portions associated with content.
  • The order of authorship from the byline must be a decision that is joint of co-authors. Authors should really be prepared to explain the order by which authors are listed.
  • All contributors who do not meet the criteria for authorship must certanly be placed in an acknowledgments section.

C. Difficulties with ICMJE recommendations

Two major difficulties with the ICMJE guidelines are that numerous people in the community that is scientific unacquainted with them and lots of scientists usually do not contribute to them. In accordance with Stanford University’s Mildred Cho and Martha McKee, writing in Science’s Next Wave in 2002, a 1994 study showed that 21% of authors of basic science papers and 30% of authors of clinical studies had no involvement in the conception or design of a project, the design regarding the study, the analysis and interpretation of data, or perhaps the writing or revisions. Actual practice, it appears, disagrees with ICMJE recommendations.

Eugene Tarnow, writing in Science and Ethics in 2002, reports findings related into the 1994 study. He cited a 1992 study of 1,000 fellows that are postdoctoral the University of California, san francisco bay area, by which fewer than half knew about any university, school, laboratory, or departmental guidelines for research and publication. Half thought that being head of the laboratory was sufficient for authorship, and slightly fewer believed that getting funding was enough for authorship.

A research by Tarnow of postdoctoral fellows in physics when you look at the 1990s also shows divergences from ICMJE precepts and points to many other concerns about authorship into the sciences. Tarnow discovered that 74% of this postdoctoral fellows would not recognize the American Physical Society’s guidelines or thought it absolutely was vague or ready to accept interpretations that are multiple. Half the guidelines were thought by the respondents suggested that obtaining funding was sufficient for authorship, as the other half would not. The findings also revealed that in 75% for the postdoc-supervisor relationships authorship criteria was not discussed; in 61% the postdoc’s criteria are not “clearly agreed upon”; as well as in 70% of this relationships the criteria for designating other authors had not been “clearly agreed upon.”

Clearly, different laboratories have different practices about who must be included as an author on a paper. At some institutions, extremely common for heads of departments to be listed as authors, as so-called “guest authors” or authors that are”gift” even though they never have directly contributed to your research. At other institutions, laboratory heads would routinely include as authors technicians who may have performed many experiments but may not have made a significant intellectual contribution to a paper, although some would give a technician only an acknowledgment at the conclusion of a paper. Some supervisors that are academic have their graduate students collect data, do research, and jot down results, yet not let them have credit on a paper, although some will provide authorship credit to students. Some foreigners in the usa may feel obligated to put mentors from their property countries on a paper and even though they did not be involved in the research.

Alternatives to ICMJE

Another problem because of the ICMJE guidelines which have show up is that each author may not be in a position to take responsibility that is full the totality of a paper. In a day and time of increasing specialization, one person knowing all the statistical analyses and methodology that is scientific went into getting worthwhile results might be unlikely. Because of this, some journals, including the British Medical Journal and Lancet, have turned from the notion of an author and instead think when it comes to an individual who is willing to take responsibility when it comes to content of the paper. The Journal regarding the American Medical Association also now requires authors to submit a questionnaire attesting towards the nature of the contribution to a paper.

The British Medical Journal says that listing custom writings authorship according to ICMJE guidelines does not clarify who is responsible for overall content and excludes those whose contribution has been the collection of data. The journal lists contributors in two ways: it publishes the authors’ names at the beginning of the paper, and lists contributors, some of whom may not be included as authors, at the end, and provides details of who planned, conducted, and reported the work as a result. A number of for the contributors are believed “guarantors” of this paper. The guarantor must definitely provide a written statement that she or he accepts full responsibility for the conduct for the study, had access to the data, and controlled your decision to publish. BMJ says that researchers must determine among themselves the particular nature of each and every man or woman’s contribution, and encourages open discussion among all participants.

American Psychological Association excerpt on publications.
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A clause concerning contributorship: “Editors are strongly encouraged to build up and implement a contributorship policy, as well as an insurance plan on identifying that is in charge of the integrity for the act as a complete. with an increase of awareness of the matter, ICMJE now has with its guidelines”

E. Other authorship responsibilities

Besides clarifying the issue of that is an author and who deserves credit for work, an author has its own other responsibilities (what exactly is given below has been adapted from Michael Kalichman’s educational material when it comes to University of California, San Diego):

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  • Good writing: Authors must write well and explain methods, data analysis and conclusions so they can be understood by a reader and be able to replicate findings. Charts, tables and graphs must additionally be clear.
  • Accuracy: Although every effort must be designed to not have mistakes in a paper, be they in a footnote or from the research itself, unintentional errors creep in. Authors should really be careful.
  • Context and citations: The author has to put research into appropriate context and supply citations when you look at the manuscript that both agree and disagree with the work.
  • Publishing negative results: If researchers never publish negative results, it makes a false impression and biases the literature. If email address details are not published from a drug trial, as an example, that either shows a medication doesn’t work or has unwanted effects, clinicians reviewing the literature might get the wrong idea about the medication’s value that is true. Because of this, other researchers may continue with studies about a drug that is potentially bad.