The Roles and Responsibilities of an Author
Authorship of a scientific paper carries a number of responsibilities that range from approval of the content of the paper to the provision for making materials available to other researchers. Because this might seem daunting for a new author, we have put together a quick guide to help you understand the various responsibilities.
- An author is someone who has made a substantial contribution to the conception or design of the work or the handling of data contained within the manuscript. It is also expected that an author would have some responsibility for drafting or revising the manuscript and that all authors should approve the content of manuscripts submitted to a journal. Finally, each author must be personally accountable for their contribution and ensure that all questions relating to the integrity of the work are properly investigated and resolved.
- A corresponding author is responsible for ensuring that all contributing authors have fulfilled their responsibilities and for communication between the journal and the authors, both prior to and after publication. The corresponding author accepts responsibility for the accuracy and integrity of the work and for the journal’s policies and ethical standards being adhered to.
- Author contributions are statements that explain the various contributions of each author to the paper. Some journals allow authors who have made equal contributions to a paper or jointly supervised the work to be highlighted. To ensure correct attribution of scholarly contributions, many journals are now encouraging authors to provide their Open Researcher and Contributor Identifier (ORCID).
- Acknowledgements are usually given to relevant funding bodies and to individuals who have made a contribution to the journal that does not qualify for authorship. Such contributions might include administrative support, technical assistance, language editing and proofreading.
- A conflict of interest is anything that might be perceived to undermine the integrity of a publication, whether financial or otherwise. This could be something that influences the objectivity, judgement or action of an individual, and applies to referees and editors as well as authors. Examples include relationships with organizations and financial gains from funding, employment or stocks and shares. Any potential conflict of interest should be acknowledged in the manuscript.
- Plagiarism is unacknowledged copying of ideas, text or results and is inappropriate practice. Care should therefore be taken to ensure correct attribution when paraphrasing or summarizing previously published work. Re-use of text from an author’s own publication is also considered to be plagiarism.
- Duplicate publication refers to authors republishing substantial aspects of their own work, including data and figures from previous publications, without appropriate acknowledgement.
- Fabrication of data or selective reporting of data is misleading to scientific endeavor and is considered unethical practice.
- Image manipulation should be minimized and is usually limited to annotation. In some fields, image processing is unavoidable, but the final image must be representative of the original. Authors are responsible for archiving unprocessed data and images.
Reproducibility and Accessibility of Data
- Data and material availability refers to authors’ responsibility for the lack of restrictions on sharing protocols, data, materials and code upon which a paper is based. Such materials and information must be preserved for future re-analysis. When restrictions are unavoidable, they should be disclosed to the editor at the time of submission.
- Reporting standards are sometimes imposed by journals to ensure the transparency and reproducibility of the published literature. These might include elements of experimental and analytical design as well as provenance information about samples.
If you are interested in submitting to one of AIP Publishing’s journals, you can review our full policy and ethics statements here.