What Defines Authorship and Who Should Be Included in a Manuscript’s Byline?

By IGI Global on Apr 15, 2024
0 For decades, academic publishing has been plagued with discrepancies surrounding authorship of scholarly research. What level of participation is needed in order to receive full authorship credit on a manuscript and inclusion in the byline (a line that tells readers who has written a piece of content)? and how has open access opened new conundrums in late
author additions?
Authors and contributors may play a number of roles in the research, writing, and preparation of submitted manuscripts.
First, let’s look at what defines authorship:
According to sources including ICMJE & PNAS, authors whose names appear on a manuscript submission have contributed to the manuscript in the following ways:
    1. Made substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data; or the creation of new software used in the work
    2. Drafted the work or revised it critically for important intellectual content
    3. Provided final approval of the version to be published
    4. Agreed to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.
It is assumed by publishers, including IGI Global, that prior to submission of the manuscript, all authors listed on the work have agreed with the content in the paper, have given explicit consent to submit the work to a publication, and have obtained consent from the responsible authorities at the institution/organization where they work. Individuals who have supported the development of the manuscript in ways that could include providing technical assistance, translation assistance, general mentoring of the research, contributed general scholarly discussion on the topic, performed formatting-related assistance, etc. can be added to the Acknowledgment section of the manuscript. These individuals should receive recognition for their support of the project, but not necessarily for contributing to the written research, and thus, are not listed as authors.
Is there a limit to the number of authors listed on a manuscript?
There is no minimum or maximum number of authors required for a chapter or article manuscript to be regarded as worthwhile. It is the value and quality of the content that is more important. If having more authors means that the writing will become scattered and disconnected, then less authors are recommended. If having less authors means that crucial perspectives and expertise will be lacking in the work, then more authors are recommended.
What if an author needs added to a submitted manuscript?
As the manuscript is completely written at the time of submission, all authors and author information should be included with the initial submission of the manuscript. It is the responsibility of the authors to solidify who will act as the corresponding authors, the order of the authors, and who is listed as an author prior to submitting the manuscript.
What if an author was accidentally omitted?
If an author is omitted by error due to technical issues when submitting a manuscript through a submission system, authors can appeal to have the author added. If an author is being requested to be added without sound reasoning, the publisher does have the right to reject the addition. All authors listed on the work must agree to the addition of the author.
What if an author was omitted purposely by the co-authors?
Undoubtedly, collaborations will yield conflicts, especially when those performing the research and writing feel that there has been unequal participation. If authors on the work choose to remove one of the individuals due to conflicts or a lack of participation, it is the sole responsibility of the authors to resolve the conflict and come to an agreement of authorship. This should be done prior to the work being submitted to the publisher; however, should these conflicts arise during the publishing process, it is up to the authors to come to an agreement and the publisher will hold the work until all conflicts have been resolved.
0 The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) has a multitude of resources that can aid authors and publishers in determining the appropriate course of action to take when recognizing authorship concerns. A full overview and flowchart can be viewed here.
How has open access impacted late author additions?
Publishers over the last few years have observed unethical practices correlating with open access manuscript submissions where current authors of the manuscript request the late addition of an additional author after the manuscript’s acceptance. This late request following acceptance of the manuscript is in part due to that individual’s willingness to cover the open access processing fees in exchange for his/her name to be added under authorship of the work. This is considered an unethical practice, and should a publisher have reason to believe that it is occurring, they do retain the right to reject the work and place the authors on suspension.
What about author affiliations? What affiliation should be listed alongside the author’s name in the bylines?
Oftentimes authors are confused by what institution affiliation they should list with their name on their submitted manuscript if they switched affiliations during the publishing process. The primary affiliation for each author should be the institution where the majority of the work was completed and the research conducted. It is the responsibility of the author to ensure that their affiliation is entered correctly upon the manuscript’s submission.
Every publisher has different policies on the changes that can be made to authorship information and when in the process those changes can potentially be made. It is always best practice to check the publisher’s editorial policy prior to submission to avoid issues later in the publishing process. For example, IGI Global’s Book Editorial Policy and Journal Editorial Policy both have clearly defined policies in regards to authorship.
In conclusion, it is important that while researchers conduct their studies and prepare manuscripts, that they also consider the items that pertain to the authorship of the manuscript including who is listed as an author, in what order they should be listed, who should be elected as the corresponding author, and what affiliation should be associated with the manuscript. By solidifying these items prior to submission, the publishing process will run smoother. Moreover, avoiding changes to authorship information during the submission, peer review, and publishing process will result in clean, accurate, and consistent data, which is especially important should the manuscript be published.
Should you be interested in submitting a chapter to an IGI Global book or an article to an IGI Global journal, please browse the Publications Seeking Submissions page or contact the Acquisitions Division at acquisition@igi-global.com for assistance finding a relevant publication.

About IGI Global – Publishing Tomorrow’s Research Today
Founded in 1988 and headquartered in Hershey, Pennsylvania, USA, IGI Global is a leading medium-sized independent international academic publisher of cutting-edge, high-quality, peer-reviewed scholarly reference publications in the three major academic subject areas of Business & Management, Scientific, Technical, & Medical (STM), and Education. With a commitment to facilitating the discovery of pioneering scientific research, this publishing house has empowered over 200,000+ expert researchers from leading institutions globally to bring advanced reference books and scholarly journals to the research community. IGI Global’s Open Access Journal Program includes nearly 200+ active fully open access journals and at present, IGI Global is one of the largest 100% open access journal publishers in the world. Through traditional and open access publishing workflows, IGI Global’s unique, swift, and agile proprietary processes (books release in roughly 6-9 months from start to finish) ensures that tomorrow’s research is published today.

Learn more about IGI Global here.

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