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Research Authorship Guidelines

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Section 1 - Purpose

(1) These guidelines support the Research Policy and Research Authorship Procedure.

(2) The objective of these guidelines is to help researchers determine:

  1. whether a contributor to a research output meets the criteria to be listed as an author; and 
  2. authorship order.
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Section 2 - Glossary

(3) The terms used in these guidelines are defined in the glossary sections of the Research Policy and Research Authorship Procedure.

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Section 3 - Policy

(4) These guidelines support the Research Policy and should be read alongside that policy.

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Section 4 - Procedure

(5) These guidelines support the Research Authorship Procedure and should be read alongside that procedure.

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Section 5 - Guideline

Models for determining authorship and author order

(6) The following models may help authors decide when authorship should be recognised. Disciplines may apply these models differently, or have their own norms for assigning authorship.

(7) Many disciplines use the criteria recommended by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors to define the role of authors and contributors. These include:

  1. substantial contribution to the conception or design of the work, or the collection, analysis or interpretation of data for the work;
  2. drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content;
  3. final approval of the version to be published; and
  4. accountability for ensuring that questions about the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are investigated and resolved.

(8) Winston (1985) proposed a weighting schema, with points to be distributed among the research team, to consider in 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.

(9) Where possible, contributors should agree on the attribution of authorship at the start of a research project so that they understand the authorship inclusions and order for research outputs emerging from the project. Written agreements are recommended.

(10) Authors should be listed in the order of their relative contribution, with the principal researcher listed using the discipline standard (either first or last named author).

(11) The criteria for authorship are not dependent on a contributor’s position or profession, or whether any contribution was paid or voluntary.

(12) The following examples may justify acknowledgement of a contributor, but not an author:

  1. being head of department, higher degree by research candidate’s 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.


International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), ‘Defining the Role of Authors and Contributors’.
Winston, R.B. (1985). A suggested procedure for determining order of authorship in research publications. ‘Journal of Counselling and Development’, 63, 515–18.