Please refer to the University’s Glossary of Terms for policies and procedures. Terms and definitions identified below are specific to these procedures and are critical to its effectiveness:
The Code: the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.
Conflict of interest: a conflict of interest exists where an independent observer might reasonably conclude that the professional actions of a person or institution are or may be unduly influenced by other interests.
Corresponding author: the author who is, as agreed by all co-authors, responsible for communication between the publishers, managing communication between co-authors and maintaining records of the authorship agreement.
Research output: a research output communicates or makes available the findings of research that may be in hardcopy, electronic or other form. Examples include, but are not limited to, journal articles, book chapters, books, web-based publications, conference papers, reports, datasets, patents and patent applications, performances, videos and exhibitions.
Researcher: all staff, students, research trainees, adjunct and conjoint appointments, visiting academics, and research fellows who engage in research activity under the auspices of USC.
1. Purpose of procedures
1.1 This document outlines the expected standards of authorship and dissemination of research findings in conjunction with the Responsible Research Conduct – Governing Policy and the Code. Please refer to section 7.3 ‘Authorship and dissemination of
research findings’ of the Responsible Research Conduct – Governing Policy when consulting these procedures.
1.2 These procedures apply to all staff, students, research trainees, adjunct and conjoint appointments, visiting academics, and research fellows who engage in research activity under the auspices of USC.
2. Determining authorship
2.1 Researchers must offer authorship to all people, including research students and junior researchers, who have made a significant intellectual or scholarly contribution to the research and its output and who agree to be listed as an author as described in section 7.3 of USC’s Responsible Research Conduct – Governing Policy.
2.2 In addition to the requirements outlined in 7.3 of the Responsible Research Conduct – Governing Policy, researchers are expected to familiarise themselves with authorship practices within their disciplines to ensure they are meeting expected disciplinary standards.
2.3 Not all contributions are substantial enough to warrant authorship, for example, authorship should not be attributed solely on the basis of:
- the provision of funding, data, materials, infrastructure or access to equipment
- the provision of routine technical support, technical advice or technical assistance
- the position or profession of an individual, such as their role as the author’s supervisor or head of department (also referred to as gift authorship)
- whether the contribution was paid for or voluntary
- the status of an individual who has not made a significant intellectual or scholarly contribution being such that it would elevate the esteem of the research (also referred to as guest authorship).
2.4 All authors are accountable for the research output in which they contribute. Individual authors are directly responsible for the accuracy and integrity of their specific contribution and as such must be agreeable to being listed as an author. Where an individual is not willing to be accountable for the output, their contribution should generally not be included and they should not be listed as an author.
2.5 Where there is more than one author, all co-authors are required to be aware of the accuracy of other authors’ contributions and to raise any concerns about the accuracy and integrity of the contribution prior to submission or publication.
2.6 Authors must be aware of and declare any actual, potential or perceived conflicts of interest, such as sources of funding or commercial interests or affiliations, when confirming their authorship contribution in accordance with USC’s Conflict of Interest – Governing Policy. Any conflicts should be documented in the authorship agreement and be transparent to all co-authors and publishers.
2.7 Agreement to be included or excluded as an author should be in writing (electronic form is acceptable) and include a brief description of the author’s contribution to the work, as per section 3 of these procedures.
2.8 If the author is deceased, or despite reasonable efforts cannot be contacted, the research output can proceed provided there are no grounds to believe that this person would have objected to being included as an author. In such circumstances, all co-authors must have confidence in the accuracy and integrity of that author’s contribution.
2.9 Sometimes the editor of a significant collective work or anthology has responsibilities analogous to authorship responsibilities. In such cases, similar criteria apply to ‘editor’ as to ‘author’. However, the term ‘editor’ should be applied only to a person who has played a significant role in the intellectual shaping of a publication.
2.10 Collaborating researchers should agree on authorship at the commencement of the research project and should review their decisions periodically.
2.11 Prior to preparation of a research output, if there is more than one author, then:
- one author (by agreement among the other authors) must be nominated as corresponding author
- an authorship agreement must be in place prior to the commencement of the research project as per section 3 of these procedures
- in disciplines where an author’s position in the authorship list has significance, researchers should reach agreement on the following:
- the principles that will be used to determine the sequence of authors on any given publication
- the sequence of authors, and
- the contribution of each author to the final manuscript consistent with the author’s position in the authorship list.
3. Recording authorship and acknowledging contributors
3.1 Authorship agreement must be recorded via the Statement of Authorship form, which is available on MyUSC (for staff) or BlackBoard (for students) or via emails or online transcripts among co-authors. It is recommended that all authors maintain a copy of an authorship agreement.
3.2 All authors must approve the final version of a research output prior to publication, which should be facilitated through the corresponding author.
3.3 Where the corresponding author of the research output is from USC, they will take responsibility for:
- certifying that authorship has been attributed in accordance with these procedures and the Responsible Research Conduct – Governing Policy in a fair and equitable manner and that the listing reflects the contributions of each author
- determining whether there are publishing restrictions or conditions and/or confidentiality requirements arising from collaborative agreements with third parties
- communicating with the publishers and managing communication between co-authors
- maintaining records of authorship agreements, including changes to the authorship as a project evolves, and approvals by all authors of the final version of a research output.
3.4 Researchers must ensure that all those who have contributed to the research, facilities, infrastructure or materials are properly acknowledged (e.g. research assistants and technical writers). These contributors should be recognised in a separate acknowledgement section (but not listed as authors unless they meet the authorship criteria specified above). Where individuals are to be named, their written consent must be obtained.
3.5 Researchers intending to publish Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge obtained through sources including unpublished manuscripts, or audio or video recordings, should seek approval from the people involved in the project or the community from which that knowledge originates, and the individual and collective contributors of the knowledge should be acknowledged, as appropriate. Researchers should refer to Ethical guidelines for research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples for guidance.
4. Publication and dissemination of research findings
4.1 As per the Responsible Research Conduct – Governing Policy, researchers have a responsibility to broadly disseminate their research.
4.2 Disseminated accounts of research should be complete, and if applicable, include negative findings and results contrary to the hypotheses.
4.3 Where possible, researchers must provide any research participants with a summary of the results. Where participants are directly affected by the research outcomes, they should be informed of the findings prior to the research being widely disseminated.
4.4 Researchers must not include the same research findings in multiple publications, unless the circumstances are clearly explained, for example, in collections, translations in other languages and/or review articles.
4.5 Authors who submit similar work to multiple publishers or submit work similar to that which has already been published, must disclose this detail at the time of submission.
4.6 Researchers must make every effort to obtain permission from the original publishers when republishing research findings.
4.7 Researchers must include information on all sources of financial and in-kind support and conflicts of interest in publications and acknowledge the host institution and funding sources of the research.
5. Dispute resolution
5.1 Authors involved in disputes over authorship, such as inclusion, exclusion or the order of listed authors, should first attempt to resolve the dispute by discussion with the persons involved. Any person involved in a dispute may seek advice from a research integrity advisor.
5.2 Disputes between authors that cannot be resolved by discussion should be referred to the relevant head of school or research centre director who may attempt to resolve the dispute through mediation.
5.3 If the dispute cannot be resolved by the relevant head of school or research centre director, the matter must be referred to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) who will make a final determination.
5.4 If in resolution of a dispute an individual believes a breach of USC policy or the Code has occurred, they should follow the process outlined in USC’s Managing and Investigating Breaches of Responsible Research Conduct - Procedures.
Statement of Authorship Form
For staff – refer to MyUSC.
For HDR Students – refer to BlackBoard, under Research and Research Training.