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Authorships of scientific publications

If a scientific publication in a scientific journal is planned, the authorship and the order of authorship must be determined. The doctoral researcher and the supervisor must record in writing who will be involved in the publication and how authorship will be determined.

Which contributions justify authorship and which do not is described in detail in § 9 (see below) of the Rules on the Principles for Safeguarding Good Scientific Practice at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf of 30 October 2020. An author is someone who has made a genuine, comprehensible contribution to the content of a scientific text, data or software publication.

The publication also mentions that parts of the work fulfil the requirements for obtaining a doctorate: in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a PhD thesis.

List of individual contributions:

For the final version of the publication, the nature and extent of each author's contribution must be documented. All authors must agree to the final version in writing.

To do this, you can use the form provided by the Graduate Centre and have it signed by all authors. Alternatively, the corresponding form of the respective journal can be used. This documentation must be enclosed with the application for admission to the doctoral programme when the doctoral examination procedure is opened.

§ 9 Authorship

(1) Wherever possible, all parties involved in a research project should be given the opportunity to acquire the rights to a co-authorship. Collaborating researchers agree on authorship of a publication. An author is an individual who has made a genuine, identifiable contribution to the content of a research publication of text, data or software. Persons to be considered for this purpose should already be named before the start of the research project. The decision as to the order in whichauthors are named is made in good time, normally no later than when the manuscript is drafted, and in accordance with clear criteria that reflect the practices within the relevant subject areas. In order to avoid conflicts over authorship, it is advisable to reach agreements at an early stage and, if possible, in writing, which are transparent and comprehensible for all parties involved and which enable a decision to be made in the event of a disagreement.

(2) If several persons are involved in a research project or in the writing of a research report, only individuals who have made a genuine, identifiable contribution to the content of a research publication of text, data or software may be named as a co-author. All authors agree on the final version of the work to be published. Unless explicitly stated otherwise, they share responsibility for the publication. Authors seek to ensure that, as far as possible, their contributions are identified by publishers or infrastructure providers such that they can be correctly cited by users.

(3) The contribution of all authors must add to the research content of the respective publication. What constitutes a genuine and identifiable contribution must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and depends on the subject area in question. An identifiable, genuine contribution is deemed to exist particularly in instances in which a researcher - in a research-relevant way - contributes to

  1. the development and conceptual design of the research project, or
  2. the gathering, collection, acquisition or provision of data, software or sources, or
  3. the analysis/evaluation or interpretation of the data, sources and conclusions drawn from them, or
  4. the drafting of a manuscript.

(4) Therefore, contributions and work that are merely supportive in nature are not sufficient to justify authorship. This includes:

  1. the mere organisational responsibility for obtaining the funds for research projects;
  2. the provision of standard investigation materials;
  3. the training of staff in standard methods;
  4. the mere performance of technical work on data collection;
  5. the mere provision of technical support (equipment or experimental animals);
  6. the simple provision of datasets;
  7. the sole reading of the manuscript without substantial contribution to its content;
  8. the management of the institution or organisational unit in which the publication originates or mere holding of the function of a superior.If a contribution is not sufficient to justify authorship, this support can be acknowledged appropriately in footnotes, the foreword or the acknowledgement. Honorary authorship in which no previously mentioned genuine contribution has been made is not permissible.

(5) Release of a manuscript for publication should be confirmed by all authors in an appropriate format and the particular contribution of each person or working group documented. By agreeing to be named as an author, (joint) responsibility is assumed for the compliance with research standards of the (co-)authorised publication. This particularly applies for the part to which a co-author has contributed. Each author is responsible for both the accuracy of his or her own contribution as well as for ensuring that it is included in the publication in a scientifically/academically legitimate manner.

(6) If the unpublished observations, findings, results or hypotheses of other persons or other institutions are used in a manuscript, their written consent must be obtained and their authorship to be indicated, unless subject to contrary conventions of the according discipline. If researchers are named as co-authors in a publication without their consent and feel unable to provide post hoc approval, they can be expected to take legal action regarding their inclusion as an author against the person primarily responsible or the editor and/or journal in question.

(7) It is in the spirit of research practice to publish new results in the foreseeable future. Researchers who collaborate on a project owe it to each other to support the pursuit of this purpose. This includes raising doubts about the quality of research results or procedures in a timely manner. Hence contributors may not fundamentally refuse publication.

(8) All co-authors are jointly entitled to the right of publication. Changes of the work may only be made with the consent of all co-authors. However, individual co-authors may not refuse their consent to publication or amendment in bad faith. It is against the rules of good research practice to terminate the collaboration without reasonable cause or to prevent the publication of results as a co-author on whose consent the publication is dependent without a valid reason. Refusals to publish must be justified with verifiable criticism of the data, methods or results.

(9) Should a co-author suspect that consent has been refused in bad faith, they may contact one of the ombudspersons for good research practice.

(10) Authors select the publication medium carefully, with due regard for its credibility, quality and visibility in the respective field of discourse.

Responsible for the content: