Authorship policy and authorship responsibilities at GPCL’s journals

Scientific communication relies on trust in the accurate reporting of contributions, methods, and findings. This trust encompasses the responsibility of authors, editors, and publishers. Issues related to authorship are not uncommon and can jeopardize the integrity of scientific research. In this section, we will delve into the principles guiding authorship decisions, policies, practices, and responsibilities at Genesis Publishing Consortium Limited (GPCL).


Definition of authorship

The accurate identification of contributors is fundamental to transparency in scientific reporting. Authors, as defined by GPCL, are individuals who have made significant contributions to a scientific report, warranting inclusion in the byline of the published work. This aligns with the prerogative of journal editors, who have the authority to define authorship and contributorship criteria. GPCL encourages the use of widely accepted sets of criteria, such as those outlined by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) or proposed by McNutt et al. (2018). Key principles of authorship found in many authorship guidelines include,

Editorial prerogative in defining criteria

The authority to establish authorship and contributorship criteria lies with journal editors. While journals are encouraged to adopt widely accepted criteria, such as those proposed by ICMJE or McNutt et al. (2018), editors may adapt them as needed for the specific scientific discipline. Clarity in defining criteria is paramount.

Researcher responsibility in the identification

The responsibility for identifying authors and contributors rests with the researchers who conducted the work. They must adhere to the journal’s criteria, determining individuals’ contributions that merit authorship. Contributors with significant but insufficient contributions should be acknowledged in specific sections, like a contributor appendix or acknowledgments, with explicit notification and permission obtained.

Inclusive identification

All individuals meeting the criteria for authorship or acknowledgment should be clearly identified. Every person listed as an author or acknowledged contributor must meet the requisite roles outlined by the criteria.

Author approval of the final manuscript

Individuals identified as authors are required to thoroughly review and approve the final manuscript before publication. This step ensures that all authors endorse the accuracy and completeness of the work.

Author accountability and recognition

Authors are not only accountable for their specific contributions but should also be capable of identifying which co-authors are responsible for other distinct parts of the work. This promotes transparency regarding individual responsibilities within the collaborative effort.

Requirement for identification of contributions

Editors play a crucial role in ensuring transparency. They should mandate authors and acknowledged contributors to identify their contributions to the work. This information should be made available to readers, enhancing accountability and understanding of each contributor’s role.

Establishing accountability and transparency

The primary objective of the author and contributor identification is to establish both accountability and transparency in reporting the work. This overarching goal ensures the integrity of the reported research and builds trust among readers.

Who can be listed as an author of a manuscript?

Author contribution expectations

Authors are entrusted with the responsibility of making substantial contributions to various facets of the research endeavor. Their involvement is anticipated in critical areas such as the conception or design of the work, the meticulous acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data, and the dedicated efforts in drafting and substantively revising the manuscript. This multifaceted engagement underscores the collaborative nature of scientific authorship and the need for diversified skills and expertise.

Endorsement of manuscript versions

Authors play a pivotal role in the progression of a manuscript through its various stages. Not only are they required to endorse the submitted version of the manuscript, but they also hold the responsibility of approving any substantially modified version that incorporates their specific contributions to the study. This active participation ensures that the final work is a collective representation of the collaborative efforts invested by all contributors.

Personal accountability commitment

Authors are not merely contributors but bear the mantle of personal accountability for their individual roles in the research process. They are expected to commit personally to the accuracy and integrity of their contributions. Furthermore, this commitment extends beyond their direct involvement; authors are obligated to engage in the comprehensive investigation and resolution of inquiries related to any aspect of the work, even those in which they were not directly engaged.

Documentation in the literature

The culmination of the author’s commitment to transparency and integrity is reflected in the documentation of the research journey in the scientific literature. Authors are entrusted with the responsibility to ensure that inquiries, regardless of the author’s direct involvement, are not only thoroughly investigated and resolved but also meticulously documented in the literature. This documentation serves as a testament to the rigor and credibility of the research process.

Determining Authorship

Responsibility of researchers

The responsibility for identifying authors and contributors lies with the researchers who conducted the work. They must adhere to the criteria specified by the journal, determining individuals’ contributions based on the guidelines. Contributors whose contributions do not meet authorship criteria should be acknowledged in a designated section, with explicit permission obtained.

Approval and accountability

Individuals listed as authors must review and approve the final manuscript before publication. Additionally, each author should be able to identify the specific contributions of co-authors to different parts of the work. This accountability ensures transparency and integrity in reporting.

Authorship criteria

Recommended best practices

GPCL endorses the best practice recommendation proposed by McNutt et al. (2018), emphasizing substantial contributions to the conception, design, acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data. Authors are expected to have drafted or substantively revised the work, approved the submitted version, and committed to being personally accountable for their contributions.

Flexibility in criteria

Recognizing the evolving landscape of scientific research, GPCL acknowledges more flexible authorship criteria, as outlined by organizations like the NIH and the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). The focus remains on substantial contributions and accountability within respective disciplines.

Contributorship models

Exclusionary contributions

Consensus supports that certain contributions, such as providing advice, obtaining financial support, or performing isolated analyses, do not warrant authorship. GPCL recommends listing these contributors in the Acknowledgments section.

Other authorship issues

Inappropriate authorship types

Guest authorship

GPCL prohibits guest authorship, defined as inclusion based solely on perceived publication advantages rather than substantial contributions to the study. Transparency in authorship is essential to maintain trust in scientific reporting.

Artificial intelligence authorship

Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) tools, like ChatGPT, are not eligible for authorship due to their inability to be accountable for the work’s accuracy, integrity, and originality. GPCL recognizes the unique challenges posed by AI-assisted tools and emphasizes human accountability in authorship.

Honorary or gift authorship

The inclusion of individuals with tenuous affiliations solely based on their position is considered honorary or gift authorship and is discouraged at GPCL.

Ghost authorship

GPCL condemns ghost authorship, emphasizing the need to disclose all contributors, including undisclosed individuals from pharmaceutical companies, medical writers, and junior staff. Transparency is crucial to maintaining the integrity of the publication process.

Unethical practices

Authorship for sale

Instances of attempting to buy authorship are unethical and should be closely monitored. GPCL editors are vigilant about changes in authorship during the review process and require explanations for any alterations.

Anonymous authorship

While transparency is paramount, GPCL acknowledges rare cases where attaching a name to a document may lead to serious hardship. In such instances, the decision to publish anonymously is at the discretion of the journal editor.

Special authorship cases

Group authorship

GPCL recognizes group authorship as appropriate for collaborative projects, outlining models where the entire group or a select subgroup is listed. Communication of credit and responsibility is emphasized.

Deceased or incapacitated authors

In cases of coauthors’ death or incapacitation during the publication process, GPCL emphasizes obtaining disclosure and copyright documentation from familial or legal proxies.

Modification of authorship policy

Any alteration in authorship, including additions, deletions, or changes in the sequence of author names, is strictly prohibited after provisional acceptance. This policy is implemented to safeguard against potential instances of fraud. Once a manuscript has received provisional acceptance, the composition and order of authors cannot be modified to maintain the integrity and transparency of the publication process.

Author name modification

In the event of an author undergoing a name change due to reasons such as gender transition or religious conversion, a request may be submitted to rectify their name, pronouns, and other pertinent biographical details in papers published before the change. The author has the option to discreetly effect this correction, wherein no note highlighting the alteration will be appended to either the PDF or HTML version of the paper. Alternatively, the author may opt for a formal public author correction to publicly acknowledge and document the name modification.

Authorship policy

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