Authorship and Dissemination of Research Findings - Procedures

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Authorship and Dissemination of Research Findings - Procedures


Approval authority
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation)
Responsible officer
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation)
Designated officer
Director, Office of Research
First approved
7 December 2018
Last amended
11 December 2018
Effective start date
7 December 2018
Review date
7 December 2023
Related documents
Intellectual Property - Governing Policy
Managing and Investigating Breaches of Responsible Research Conduct - Procedures
Research Data Management - Procedures
Responsible Research Conduct - Governing Policy
Related legislation / standards
Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2018)
Guide to Managing and Investigating Potential Breaches of the Code
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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.

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 applies 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, who have made a significant intellectual or scholarly contribution to the research and its output as described in section 7.3 of USC’s Responsible Research Conduct – Governing Policy. Examples of a significant contribution include:

  • having the original idea and/or designing the project
  • being the principal investigator
  • collecting and analysing material
  • writing a draft paper.

2.2 Not all contributions are substantial enough to warrant authorship, for example, the following do not meet the criteria for authorship:

  • holding positions of authority (such as head of department) or having personal relationships with the authors
  • providing technical contributions, but no other intellectual input
  • providing funding, general supervision or routine assistance
  • providing data that has already been published or materials from a third party (with no other intellectual output).

2.3 The following authorship practices are unacceptable:

  • guest (when someone is given authorship purely out of respect)
  • gift (when someone is given authorship out of obligation), and
  • ghost (when someone who should be listed as an author is left out).

2.4 A person who qualifies as an author must not be included or excluded as an author without their permission. This should be in writing (electronic form is acceptable) and include a brief description of the author’s contribution to the work.

2.5 If the author is deceased or despite reasonable efforts cannot be contacted, the publication can proceed provided there are no grounds to believe that this person would have objected to being included as an author.

2.6 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.

2.7 Collaborating researchers should agree on authorship of a publication at the commencement of the research project and should review their decisions periodically.

2.8 Prior to preparation of a manuscript, if there is more than one author of a research output, then:

  • one author (by agreement among the other authors) should be nominated as executive author of the whole research output and should take responsibility for identifying the contributions of all authors and record keeping, and
  • in disciplines where an author’s position in an 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 certification can be recorded via the Statement of Authorship form or via emails among co-authors.

3.2 All authors should maintain a copy of authorship certification.

3.3 The executive author of the research output will take responsibility for:

  • certifying that authorship has been determined 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, and
  • determining whether there are publishing restrictions or conditions and/or confidentiality requirements arising from collaborative agreements with third parties.

3.4 Researchers must ensure that all those who have contributed to the research, facilities 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.

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.

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.




Statement of Authorship Form

For staff – refer to MyUSC.

For HDR Students – refer to BlackBoard, under Research and Research Training.

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