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Authorship guidelines

It is not always clear what is required to be an author of a scientific manuscript. Participants in a research project often have different ideas over who qualifies for authorship. It is important for PhD candidates to clarify this issue.

There are different views on when co-authorship is appropriate. Different professional associations use different guidelines (e.g. the American Psychological Association,  the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors and the National Institute of Health).

ACLC guidelines

The ACLC Advisory Board has discussed the various approaches and has decided on the authorship rules as proposed by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. This rules will apply to all ACLC members. All named authors should meet the following three conditions:

  1. An author must make substantial contributions to conception and design, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data;
  2. An author must be involved in drafting the article OR revising it critically for important intellectual content;
  3. An author must give final approval of the version to be published. 

Fulfilling all these conditions is a necessary condition to be an author. It is advisable in any project for co-authorship to be explicitly discussed with all possible parties before any writing takes place. For PhD candidates this should happen at the beginning of the project in the research planning phase. Where the work is directly a result of the PhD project, the PhD candidate will be first author. In other projects, order of authorship should be decided on the basis of importance of contribution and otherwise alphabetically.