Authorship in scientific publications denotes the creator of an original idea or a significant intellectual contributor and is a matter of pride as well as responsibility. While there is no universal definition of authorship, an ‘author’ is generally considered to be an individual who has made a significant intellectual contribution to the study. Still, several recommendations are available from global bodies (ICMJE, COPE) publishers or institutional guidelines (National Institute of Health [NIH], Harvard Medical School). The fundamental spirit of each of these bodies is to ensure ethics in scientific publications, promote due credit to deserving individuals, and discourage inappropriate authorship (Ali, 2020).
Following these guidelines, anyone listed as Author on an iRASD manuscript submission must meet all the following criteria:
- Substantial contribution to the study conception and design, data acquisition, analysis, and interpretation.
- Drafting or revising the article for intellectual content.
- They are aware the manuscript has been submitted for publication.
- They agree to be held accountable for any issues relating to the correctness or integrity of the work.
One author is designated as the corresponding author who is responsible for having ensured that this agreement has been reached that all authors have agreed to be so listed, and have approved the manuscript submission to the journal, and for managing all communication between the journal and all co-authors, before and after publication. At submission, the corresponding author must include written permission from the authors of the work concerned for mention of any unpublished material cited in the manuscript (for example others' data, in press manuscripts, personal communications or work in preparation). The corresponding author also must clearly identify at submission any material within the manuscript (such as figures) that has been published previously elsewhere and provide written permission from authors of the prior work and/or publishers, as appropriate, for the re-use of such material.
After acceptance, the corresponding author is responsible for the accuracy of all content in the proof, including the names of coauthors, addresses and affiliations.
After publication, the corresponding author is the point of contact for queries about the published paper. It is their responsibility to inform all co-authors of any matters arising in relation to the published paper and to ensure such matters are dealt with promptly. Authors of published material have a responsibility to inform the journal immediately if they become aware of any aspects that require correction.
Any changes to the author list after submissions, such as a change in the order of the authors or the deletion or addition of authors, must be approved by every author. Nature Portfolio journal editors are not in a position to investigate or adjudicate authorship disputes before or after publication. Such disagreements, if they cannot be resolved amongst authors, should be directed to the relevant institutional authority.
The primary affiliation for each author should be the institution where the majority of their work was done. If an author has subsequently moved, the current address may also be stated.
Three types of authorship are considered unacceptable in iRASD Journals:
- ‘Ghost’ authors, who contribute substantially but are not acknowledged (often paid by commercial sponsors).
- ‘Guest’ authors, who make no discernible contributions, but are listed to help increase the chances of publication.
- ‘Gift’ authors, whose contribution is based solely on a tenuous affiliation with a study.