The requirements for authorship at the University
Authorship is about credit and accountability for individuals and institutions. It is at the same time simple and difficult. Authorship practices and conventions are diverse, but the basics are the same regardless of research discipline.
Authorship at the University of Melbourne:
- Must be an honest reflection of contribution to research
- Should be assigned fairly and consistently
- Should be communicated clearly and transparently
- Should be approached with generosity while remaining true to requirements
These principles should guide authorship for all research outputs from peer-reviewed journal articles, research books and book chapters, to creative research performances by researchers of the University, including research staff, research students, honorary staff, and visitors.
A person is listed as an author of a research output only when they have made a significant intellectual or scholarly contribution to the research described in the research output, are willing to be accountable for their contribution, and agree to be listed as an author. Significant intellectual or scholarly contribution is made through at least one, but often more than one, of the following:
- Conception and design of the research described
- Acquisition (requiring significant intellectual judgement or input) of research data
- Analysis and interpretation of research data
- Drafting of the research output
- Redrafting of the research output so as to critically change or substantially advance the interpretation
Authorship must not be attributed when a researcher has not made a significant intellectual or scholarly contribution to a research output or is unwilling to take responsibility for their contribution. Contributions made solely through the provision of funding, the provision of technical support, technical advice or technical assistance, their position or as a gift, the provision of materials, infrastructure or access to equipment, are generally not considered to meet the criteria for authorship. Contributions that do not meet the criteria for authorship must be properly acknowledged where it is appropriate for the type of research output.
Researchers are encouraged to talk about authorship with all those involved in the research early and often. An authorship agreement form is available to facilitate discussions and is a suitable record of agreement about authorship throughout the project. The authorship agreement should include a description of the contributions to the research output made by each author; recognition of other contributions; acknowledgement of sponsors; and declaration of any conflicts of interest, and be updated accordingly.
Authorship disputes for research outputs such as disagreement over the relative contributions of authors, author inclusion, author exclusion or author order should be resolved using the Authorship Dispute Resolution Procedure. Researchers involved in the research output should first attempt to resolve the authorship dispute and reach an agreement through direct dialogue with each other. When this fails, a Senior Academic from the relevant Faculty or Graduate School may be asked to provide advice, and to facilitate agreement and resolution.