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Research, Grants and Export Control

Authorship Policy - 1M12


Research integrity is vital to the research enterprise. Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) is committed to ensuring all SIUE researchers, whether employee or student, conduct themselves professionally and ethically, including in relation to the publication and presentation of scholarly and creative works.

This policy establishes general guidelines for researchers to use to determine appropriate authorship attribution for scholarly works as well as procedures to handle an authorship dispute. Research misconduct is handled through  Policy and Procedures for responding to Allegations of Research and Academic Misconduct - 1Q5. Authorship disputes do not, in and of themselves, constitute misconduct, per Policy 1Q5. However, the definitions outlined in Policy 1Q5 are applicable where relevant to this policy.

General Guidelines

SIUE recognizes that academic disciplines engaged in collaborative authorship have varied traditions and customs for assigning authorship and that these practices are evolving to consider changes in the way research is being conducted. These guidelines provide best practices to ensure the highest level of research integrity and ethical conduct while allowing for evolving disciplinary variations.  The guidelines seek to provide helpful assistance to researchers – staff, faculty, and students alike.  There is always a level of expectation to authorship.  Following the guidelines below should reduce the risks of a dispute.

  1. Communication

The lead person or people on a scholarly project needs to foster continuing and proactive communication from the beginning of any collaborative project.  Early discussions between everyone working on the project should discuss authorship and order of authors.  Decisions should be documented in writing.

Communication regarding authorship early can help set expectations. These discussions should include disciplinary expectations and whether a person will meet the authorship criteria to warrant being named a co-author or whether acknowledgment is warranted.  Communication can also help when roles shift during a project.  When a person will no longer meet the requirements to be listed as an author, a conversation on this change helps set expectations.  These additional discussions and decisions should be documented in writing.

  1. Consistency

Remaining consistent within a research group can help reduce the likelihood of an authorship dispute.  Recognizing all authors who meet the requirements provides consistency in a project and can help set expectations for the larger group.

  1.  Documentation

The primary author should oversee the preparation of a concise written description of each author's contribution to a work that is approved by all authors.

See the Graduate School's website for authorship resources.

Authorship Defined

An author is anyone who has made meaningful and substantial intellectual contributions to a scholarly work or project.  SIUE recognizes there are varying standards for defining "substantial" and "meaningful" among disciplines and professional journals. For example, substantial and meaningful may be direct contributions to conception, design, analysis, and/or interpretation of data. The expectation of this policy is that standards and criteria for authorship in an academic discipline will be widely recognized and consistent across that discipline (including within SIUE) and consistent with the appropriate professional association and/or outlet in which the work is submitted and/or appears.

Generally, a person qualifies as an author if they meet the following criteria, although there are situations when authorship is warranted even if all three criteria are not met:

  1. provided substantial intellectual contributions to the conception or design of the scholarly work or project
  2. substantively participated in drafting and/or revising the work for scholarly content
  3. approved the final version of the work to be submitted, published, performed, or presented.

It is expected that in publications resulting from a thesis, dissertation, or other exit requirement that the student is the first author. Committee members may be included as authors when they meet typical authorship criteria above; mere membership on the committee does not suffice for authorship.

Individuals who do not qualify as an author may qualify for acknowledgement; see section below.  These individuals include:

  1. a person who makes possible the conduct of the project or the preparation of a scholarly work (e.g., a funder, someone who only collects data, or someone acting as study coordinator)
  2. someone being offered an honorary authorship
  3. someone being offered a gift authorship
  4. someone being offered a ghost authorship
  5. someone who served as a mentor or advisor
  6. others who contributed to the project, but do not meet the above criteria, including but not limited to technical help and writing or composing assistance.

Authorship ordering conventions vary by discipline and publication format. This Policy does not specify ordering practices.


Individuals who do not meet the above definition for author but contributed significantly to the work qualify for inclusion in the acknowledgments section.  Contributions include anyone who provided:

  1. technical support or technical review
  2. supervision of the scholarly work or project
  3. editing
  4. data collection or statistical analysis of data
  5. writing, composing, proofreading, or staging assistance
  6. assistance in obtaining funding
  7. financial support for the project.

Dispute Resolution Procedures

Even if the above guidelines are followed, disputes in authorship can arise regarding who is an author or the order of listing authors.  If a dispute arises, the following procedures must be followed.

Stage 1: At this stage, resolution is informal.  Authors are to make a good faith attempt to resolve the dispute within the collaborative working group.  Open communication and discussion at the internal level in a professional way can help all authors share their perspectives.

If there is a change in authorship resulting from this informal resolution, this change should be agreed upon by all authors and properly documented. This documentation should be kept by the lead author and a copy given to the other party involved in the dispute.

If the dispute cannot be resolved informally by all parties involved, the dispute is to be referred to the Graduate School for Stage 2.

Stage 2: To refer an authorship dispute to the Graduate School the requesting party will provide the Associate Provost for Research (APR) or designee with a written position statement using the Authorship Dispute form.  The APR or designee will assess the statement.  If needed, the dispute will be processed through other processes, such as Policy 1Q5 for research misconduct. Otherwise, the APR or designee will forward the statement to all other authors and parties involved.  The other involved parties and authors shall be provided five business days to provide their own position statements.  The APR or designee will meet with the parties to mediate the dispute.

If there is an agreed upon resolution resulting from this mediation, the APR or designee will document the resolution and have all parties sign.

If the APR or designed decides that the dispute cannot be resolved at this stage, the APR or designee will refer the dispute to the Research Integrity Inquiry Panel (RIIP).

Stage 3. The RIIP (definition and composition outlined in Policy 1Q5) will provide a formal recommendation to the Deciding Official (DO, as defined in Policy 1Q5) at the end of its inquiry.

To come to a recommendation, the RIIP may interview the disputing parties and any other persons who have relevant information regarding the dispute. The RIIP can request written statements from parties involved and take into consideration any other relevant evidence.

The RIIP will use the definition of authorship in this policy.  Where clarification is needed due to differences in disciplines, the RIIP must identify in its recommendation the written standards of authorship they have applied to the dispute.  If the scholarly work at issue has been submitted to an entity, the RIIP will apply that entity’s authorship principles.  If the entity to which a work has been submitted has no such principles or if the work has not yet been submitted, then the RIIP may select and apply a written standard that is widely regarded as acceptable in the relevant discipline or field.  The RIIP must cite the written standard selected and explain the basis for its selection.

After consideration of all applicable information, evidence and selected authorship standards, the RIIP will provide a written recommendation for the resolution of the dispute to the DO along with the rationale for their recommendation.

Upon receipt of the written recommendation, the DO will have 10 business days to make the final determination as to whether to accept the recommendation of the RIIP.  The DO or designee will provide a copy of the binding administrative determination (which shall include a summary of the RIIP’s recommendation and rationale) to the parties and will enforce the administrative determination, including requirements to make changes to relevant published material.

SIUE recognizes that disputes can involve both an authorship dispute and academic or research misconduct.  Where academic or research misconduct is found at any level, the academic or research misconduct will be referred to the Research Integrity Officer (RIO) to handle under SIUE Policy 1Q5.

Approved by Chancellor effective 3/27/23
This policy was issued on May 23, 2023, replacing the December 23, 2020 version.
Document Reference: 1M12
Origin: GR 19/20-20; GR 22/23-03

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