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Research Authorship Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose

(1) This document sets out Charles Sturt University's policy for determining and recording the authorship of research outputs emerging from activities undertaken by Charles Sturt University (the University) staff and students and their collaborators.

(2) The objectives of the Research Authorship Policy are to:

  1. clearly define the criteria for attribution of authorship for all research outputs contributed to by University staff and students;
  2. ensure that the authorship efforts of contributors to research outputs are fairly represented and equitably acknowledged;
  3. ensure that appropriate steps to confirm authorship are taken prior to submission for publication or presentation;
  4. minimise events of authorship dispute; and
  5. ensure that researchers appropriately attribute research outputs to the University.
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Section 2 - Scope

(3) This Policy applies to all research outputs and creative works, including journal articles, books, chapters and conference papers, web-based publications, multi-media, works of art, performances, compositions and software.

(4) This Policy applies to all staff and students at the University who are engaged in activities that may lead to research output(s).

(5) This Policy is also recommended for use by honorary and adjunct staff, visiting fellows, visiting students and any other persons involved in development of joint research outputs with University staff and/or students.

(6) This Policy does not apply to theses that are submitted to fulfil requirements for examination and award of a Higher Degree by Research (HDR). However this policy applies to published or unpublished papers that may form part of a higher degree by research thesis, or that emanate from that work. The requirements for HDR theses are defined under the Academic Regulations.

(7) This Policy does not address ownership of intellectual property relating to research outputs. Matters relating to Intellectual Property are defined and addressed under the Intellectual Property Policy.

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Section 3 - References

(8) This Policy is consistent with and draws significantly from the 2007 Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, which has been adopted in its entirety by the University as the Code of Conduct Research, or the Code.

(9) The Code was developed jointly by the National Health and Medical Research Council, the Australian Research Council and Universities Australia and has broad relevance across all research disciplines.

(10) References within this Policy:

  1. American Psychological Association (2010) Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct. Available from
  2. Australian Government National Health and Medical Research Council, the Australian Research Council & Universities Australia (2007) Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research. Available from
  3. International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (1997). Uniform requirements for manuscripts submitted to biomedical journals. Journal of the American Medical Association, 277(11), 927-934.
  4. Winston, R.B. (1985). A suggested procedure for determining order of authorship in research publications. Journal of Counselling and Development, 63, 515-518.
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Section 4 - Responsibilities

Responsibilities of the University

Maintain appropriate criteria for authorship

(11) The University is responsible for maintain and promote this policy on authorship that is consistent with the University Code of Conduct Research.

Dispute Resolution

(12) The University is responsible for assistance with the resolution of disputes that arise with respect to authorship. Refer also to clauses 45-49 of this Policy.

Responsibilities of Researchers

Follow Policies on Authorship

(13) Researchers are responsible for their compliance with the University Authorship Policy and the University Code of Conduct Research.

Agree on Authorship

(14) Collaborating researchers are responsible for seeking agreement on the authorship of a research output at an early stage in the research project and should periodically review their decisions.

Include All Authors

(15) Researchers are responsible for offering authorship to all people who meet the criteria for authorship as defined within this Policy. Those offered authorship must accept or decline in writing.

(16) Where researchers are unable to contact an author or contributor, this must be acknowledged when the research output is published.

Do Not Allow Unacceptable Inclusions of Authorship

(17) Researchers are responsible for ensuring that authorship is not offered to those who do not meet the criteria for authorship as set out in this Policy.

Acknowledge Other Contributions Fairly

(18) Researchers are responsible for ensuring that all participants who have contributed to the research, facilities or materials are properly acknowledged, including research assistants and technical writers. Written consent should be obtained whenever individuals are to be named in acknowledgment.

Extend the Authorship Policy to Web-based Publications

(19) The criteria in this Policy apply equally to print and electronic publications. Authors of web-based publications are responsible for the publication's content and must be clearly identified in the publication.

Lodgement of Research Outputs in the Institutional Repository

(20) University authors are responsible to ensure that all research publications and creative works are recorded in CSU Research Outputs (CRO) repository as soon as is practical after publication.

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Section 5 - Authorship of Research Outputs

(21) "The outcomes of research may be disseminated in a variety of ways but enduring forms, such as journal articles, are particularly important and to be an author for such a form is meritorious. To be named as an author, a researcher must have made a substantial scholarly contribution to the work and be able to take responsibility for at least that part of the work they contributed." (The Code, 2007)

(22) All researchers have a responsibility to accurately assign credit for contributions to a creative work, research publication or outcome.

Determining Authorship and Author Order

(23) The following models may be used as a catalyst to promote discussion about determining the recognition of a researcher in the author list or as an acknowledgment. Clearly there will be disciplinary norms and differences.

(24) The Vancouver Protocol is widely recognised and accepted standard internationally for determining authorship on publications. This Protocol was first described by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE, 1997) and has since been adopted across many disciplines.

(25) The Protocol specifies that every author on a publication needs to have been involved in the all three of the following:

  1. conception and design, or analysis and interpretation of data;
  2. drafting the publication or critical review such as to contribute intellectual content; and
  3. final approval of the version to be published (noting also clauses 15-16 of this Policy).

(26) The Research Code (2007) also identifies that attribution of authorship depends to some extent on the discipline, but in all cases, authorship must be based on substantial contributions in a combination of:

  1. conception and design of the project;
  2. analysis and interpretation of research data; and
  3. drafting significant parts of the work or critically revising it so as to contribute to the interpretation.

(27) Winston (1985) proposed a weighting schema, with points to be distributed among the research team, be considered when determining authorship:

  1. conceptualising and refining the research ideas - 50;
  2. literature search - 20;
  3. creating the research design - 30;
  4. instrument selection - 10;
  5. instrument construction and design - 40;
  6. selection of data analysis mechanisms - 10;
  7. performing data analysis - 10;
  8. interpretation of data analysis procedures - 10;
  9. first draft of manuscript - 50;
  10. second draft of manuscript - 30;
  11. editing manuscript - 10.

Rights to Authorship

(28) The Code specifies that "the right to authorship is not tied to position or profession and does not depend on whether the contribution was paid for or voluntary. It is not enough to have provided materials or routine technical support, or to have made the measurements on which the [research output] is based." The right to authorship requires substantial intellectual involvement.

(29) Accordingly, the following examples are identified within the Code (2007). None of the following contributions, in and of themselves, would justify including a person as an author:

  1. being head of department, HDR supervisor, holding other positions of authority, or personal friendship with the authors;
  2. providing a technical contribution but no other intellectual input to the project or publication;
  3. providing routine assistance in some aspects of the project, the acquisition of funding or general supervision of the research team; or
  4. providing data that has already been published or materials obtained from third parties, but with no other intellectual input.

Research Students and Research Assistants

(30) Except under exceptional circumstances, a Higher Degree by Research student should be listed as principal author on any multiple-authored article that is substantially based on the student's doctoral work ( APA Ethics Code, 2010 ), with supervisors, where appropriate, taking second author status. Co-author status is obligatory if the supervisor/s designates the primary variables or makes interpretative contributions or provides the database or otherwise meets the criteria in clauses 23-27 above; is a courtesy if the supervisor/s designates the general area or substantially contributes to design; and is not acceptable if the supervisor only provides encouragement, physical resources, financial support, critiques or editorial contributions. In the last case supervisors should be acknowledged in the acknowledgments section.

(31) There are some circumstances where the supervisor may be the principal author but where this occurs it must be with the student's written approval. If research supervisors use contracts with their students, it would appropriate to include a statement on the principals to be used in determining authorship.

(32) Where a research assistant is employed or works on a project that has been conceptualised, planned and funded on the basis of an application prepared by researchers, then acknowledgment rather than co-authorship is the convention. Employment as a research assistant and completing tasks like preparing summaries of literature, collecting and typing data, analysing data using standard procedures and preparing drafts of reports or manuscripts are considered worthy of acknowledgment and not co-authorship.

(33) However, where a research assistant substantially adds new knowledge to the project, like developing and presenting a new model, analysing data in an innovative way or taking prime responsibility for writing a manuscript or report, then co-authorship may be appropriate and should be discussed.


(34) The Code (2007) recognises that "sometimes the editor of a significant collective work or anthology has responsibilities analogous to those listed above for authorship and, 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 research output.

(35) More commonly, editorial assistance with a publication does not meet the criteria for authorship.

Acknowledgments of Contributors

(36) All those who do not meet the criteria for authorship and have otherwise made a meaningful contribution to the research, including funding agencies, have the right to be properly acknowledged in the research output.

Process for Determining Authorship and Author Order

(37) "Collaborating researchers should agree on authorship of a [research output] at an early stage in the research project and should review their decisions periodically." (The Code, 2007)

(38) A consensus decision-making process is most desirable. It is suggested that up-front written agreements be formulated, where possible and appropriate, so that all participants involved in a research project understand the authorship inclusions and order for research outputs emerging from the project. The order of authorship should reflect the different amounts of intellectual and scholarly input. The person who made the greatest intellectual and scholarly contribution should be listed as the principal author using the discipline standard (either first or last named author) and others listed in order of relative contributions. Those participants whose contribution does not warrant being listed as an author should be accorded an acknowledgment.

(39) A contributor who meets the authorship criteria must not be included or excluded as an author without their written permission. Agreement on authorship should include a brief description of contributions to the work and should be retained as a record.

Managing Authorship

(40) Where a research output includes several authors, the Corresponding Author has responsibility for recording authorship and managing communications about the publication with the authors and publishers.

(41) The Corresponding Author must ensure that all authors acknowledge their authorship in writing. The authorship principles in this Policy apply to all University staff and students, regardless of who is the Corresponding Author.

Attribution of Research Output Affiliation

(42) Attribution of institutional affiliation is a mechanism to recognise meaningful institutional support and is good research practice. The affiliation of an institution for each author on a research output ensures appropriate recognition of both investments and achievements in research. Affiliation on research outputs also ensures that the research output can contribute to all relevant measures of performance for which the institution is responsible.

(43) Affiliation to the University should be made on research outputs by all University staff and students, whenever the work has been undertaken while employed by or enrolled at the University. Affiliation to the University should be applied for work conducted at the University, even if an author/creator has subsequently left the institution.

(44) Research outputs created by honorary, adjunct and other affiliates of the University should apply the same principle of attribution, as appropriate, to ensure that achievements and investment in research receive appropriate acknowledgement.

Disputes and Conflicts

(45) Authors involved in disputes or conflicts over authorship, including inclusion, exclusion and author order disputes, should as a first resort seek to resolve the matter by collegial discussion amongst the persons involved.

(46) In instances where a collegial decision-making process guided by the Authorship Policy and Code of Conduct Research, is unable to achieve consensus on authorship by research participants, mediated discussion supported by an impartial senior colleague may be considered.

(47) The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Engagement) will thereafter be responsible for dealing with all disputes and conflicts. The process will involve the DVC (RE) (or nominee) talking with all parties involved and if necessary taking advice from colleagues in other institutions before making a determination.

(48) Should either party not be happy with the outcome they may make representation in writing to the Research Committee.

(49) In instances where the University's Code of Conduct Research may have been contravened, the Academic Misconduct provisions in the Enterprise Agreement will be invoked.