The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors guidelines

The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors guidelines

A starting point for a discussion of authorship could be the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) guidelines. In 1978, a group that is small of of general medical journals met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, to ascertain guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted for their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references manufactured by the National Library of Medicine, were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group evolved and expanded to the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, which meets annually. The ICMJE gradually has broadened its concerns to incorporate principles that are ethical to publication in biomedical journals. Through the years, ICMJE has issued updated versions of what are called Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals along with other statements relating to policy that is editorial. The essential update that is recent in November 2003. Approximately 500 biomedical journals subscribe to your guidelines.

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In accordance with the ICMJE guidelines:

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  • Authorship credit must be predicated on 1) substantial contributions to conception and design, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data; 2) drafting the content or revising it critically for important intellectual content; and 3) final approval of the version to be published. Authors should meet conditions 1, 2, and 3.
  • When a big, multi-center group has conducted the job, the group should identify the people who accept direct responsibility for the manuscript. These individuals should fully meet the requirements for authorship defined above and editors will ask these individuals to perform author that is journal-specific conflict of great interest disclosure forms. When submitting a group author manuscript, the corresponding author should clearly indicate the most well-liked citation and really should clearly identify all individual authors plus the group name. Journals will generally list other members of the group into the acknowledgements. The National Library of Medicine indexes the combined group name together with names of individuals the group has identified as being directly accountable for the manuscript.
  • Acquisition of funding, collection of data, or supervision that is general of research group, alone, will not justify authorship.
  • Each author need to have participated sufficiently within the work to take responsibility that is public appropriate portions of this content.
  • The order of authorship regarding the byline ought to be a decision that is joint of co-authors. Authors must be ready to give an explanation for order in which authors are listed.
  • All contributors that do not meet the requirements for authorship should always be placed in an acknowledgments section.

C. Difficulties with ICMJE recommendations

Two major issues with the ICMJE guidelines are that lots of people in the scientific community are unaware of them and many scientists usually do not subscribe to them. Relating to Stanford University’s Mildred Cho and Martha McKee, writing in Science’s Next Wave in 2002, a 1994 study showed that 21% of authors of basic science papers and 30% of authors of clinical studies had no involvement into the conception or design of a project, the style regarding the study, the analysis and interpretation of information, or the writing or revisions. Actual practice, it appears, disagrees with ICMJE recommendations.

Eugene Tarnow, writing in Science and Ethics in 2002, reports findings related to your 1994 study. He cited a 1992 study of 1,000 fellows that are postdoctoral the University of California, San Francisco, by which fewer than half knew about any university, school, laboratory, or departmental guidelines for research and publication. Half thought that being head associated with the laboratory was sufficient for authorship, and slightly fewer believed that getting funding was enough for authorship.

A study by Tarnow of postdoctoral fellows in physics in the 1990s also shows divergences from ICMJE precepts and points with other concerns about authorship when you look at the sciences. Tarnow discovered that 74% of the postdoctoral fellows would not recognize the American Physical Society’s guidelines or thought it had been vague or available to interpretations that are multiple. Half the respondents thought the guidelines suggested that obtaining funding was sufficient for authorship, while the other half did not. The findings also revealed that in 75% for the postdoc-supervisor relationships authorship criteria had not been discussed; in 61% the postdoc’s criteria were not “clearly agreed upon”; as well as in 70% associated with relationships the criteria for designating other authors had not been “clearly agreed upon.”

Clearly, different laboratories have different practices about who must certanly be included as an author on a paper. At some institutions, extremely common for heads of departments to be listed as authors, as so-called “guest authors” or “gift authors,” although they have never directly contributed to your research. At other institutions, laboratory heads would routinely include as authors technicians and also require performed many experiments but may not have made a substantial intellectual contribution to a paper, although some would give a technician only an acknowledgment at the end of a paper. Some supervisors that are academic have their graduate students collect data, do research, and jot down results, yet not provide them with credit on a paper, although some will give authorship credit to students. Some foreigners in america may feel obligated to place mentors from their house countries on a paper despite the fact that they failed to participate in the study.

Alternatives to ICMJE

Another problem with the ICMJE guidelines which have come up is that each author may possibly not be in a position to take full responsibility for the totality of a paper. In a day and age of increasing specialization, one person knowing most of the statistical analyses and scientific methodology that went into getting good results may be unlikely. Because of this, some journals, for instance the British Medical Journal and Lancet, have turned from the concept of an author and instead think in terms of somebody who is happy to take responsibility when it comes to content of this paper. The Journal for the American Medical Association also now requires authors to submit a questionnaire attesting to the nature of these contribution to a paper.

The British Medical Journal says that listing authorship according to ICMJE guidelines does not clarify that is accountable for overall content and excludes those whose contribution has been the number of data. As a result, the journal lists contributors in 2 ways: it publishes the authors’ names at the start of the paper, and lists contributors, a few of whom is almost certainly not included as authors, at the end, and provides details of who planned, conducted, and reported the job. More than one associated with contributors are considered “guarantors” for the paper. The guarantor must make provision for a written statement that he / she accepts full responsibility for the conduct of the study, had use of the data, and controlled your decision to publish. BMJ says that researchers must determine among themselves the precise nature of every person’s contribution, and encourages open discussion among all participants.

American Psychological Association excerpt on publications.
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With additional understanding of the problem, ICMJE now has in its guidelines a clause concerning contributorship: “Editors are strongly encouraged to build up and implement a contributorship policy, as well as an insurance plan on identifying who is in charge of the integrity for the work as an entire.”

E. Other authorship responsibilities

An author has many other responsibilities (what is listed below has been adapted from Michael Kalichman’s educational material for the University of California, San Diego) besides clarifying the issue of who is an author and who deserves credit for work:

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  • Good writing: Authors must write well and explain methods, data analysis and conclusions so a reader can understand them and also replicate findings. Charts, tables and graphs must be clear also.
  • Accuracy: Although every effort must be designed to not need mistakes in a paper, be they in a footnote or from the research itself, unintentional errors creep in. Authors should always be careful.
  • Context and citations: The author needs to put research into appropriate context and supply citations within the manuscript that both agree and disagree utilizing the work.
  • Publishing negative results: If researchers never publish negative results, it generates a impression that is false biases the literature. If answers are not published from a drug trial, for example, that either shows a medication does not work or has side effects, clinicians reviewing the literature could get the wrong impression concerning the medication’s value that is true. As a result, other researchers may continue with studies about a potentially bad drug.

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