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Determining Authorship in Scholarly or Scientific Publications

An important component of ensuring the integrity of the research and scholarly enterprise is determining authorship, because determination of authorship provides evidence of assigning responsibility and giving credit for intellectual work. Authorship credit should be given to those who contribute to and participate in substantive ways to scholarly and scientific work, and the relative credit given should honestly and accurately reflect actual contributions. Fair and equitable determination of authorship is important to the reputation, academic promotion, and funding support of the individuals involved, and to the strength and reputation of the authors’ respective institutions.

Authorship confers credit for contributions and has important academic, social, and financial implications. Authorship also implies responsibility and accountability for published work. The University recognizes that authorship is important for faculty academic careers and the lack of clear guidance for determining authorship may lead to unnecessary conflicts among contributors. Disagreements sometimes arise regarding who should ultimately be named as an author of or contributor to intellectual work and the relative order in which individuals should be listed. Some of these disputes are a result of failure of early communication and expectation-setting.

Policy 7-020: Determining Authorship in Scholarly or Scientific Publications is meant to provide both procedures and a set of standards that are shared by the University’s academic community as a whole, to help facilitate open communication through adherence to common principles. These principles apply to all intellectual products, whether published or prepared for internal use or for broad dissemination.

Designing an ethical and transparent approach to determining authorship for publication of research results is primarily the responsibility of the principal investigator(s). This Policy and its associated Regulations are intended to outline the ethical responsibilities of the investigator(s), and describe some of the University of Utah resources available to support implementation of the principles outlined herein.

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Last Updated: 7/9/21