Authorship Guidelines

CSPH Authorship Guidelines

As part of the Center for Surgery and Public Health’s (CSPH) mission to advance the science of surgery through research that informs policy and program development for safe, high quality, and equitable, patient-centered care, CSPH is committed to fair and equitable determination of authorship and opportunities for authorship. Authorship must give an honest accounting of the contributions of all members of the research team and reflect our integrity as a research center.

According to the Harvard Medical School Authorship Guidelines, “Authorship practices should be judged by how honestly they reflect actual contributions to the final product.” The CSPH adheres to and supports the guidelines set forth by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, including that all authors to make “substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis or interpretation of data for the work” and the process for resolving questions of authorship put forth by the Harvard Medical School Ombuds Office (refer to contacts below). In addition to these guidelines, which define the criteria for authorship, CSPH also affirms that all research team members who make qualifying contributions to data acquisition and analysis should have the opportunity to contribute to writing or critical review and thereby satisfy the requirement for authorship. The CSPH authorship considerations outline the process for approaching authorship at CSPH and expectations for all roles.

 

Harvard Medical School Ombuds Office Contacts:

  • To schedule an appointment:

Robin Cheung, M.Ed., Ombuds Coordinator | robin_cheung@hms.harvard.edu | 617-432-4041

  • HMS/HSDM/HSPH Ombudsperson:

Melissa Brodrick | Melissa_brodrick@hms.harvard.edu | 617-432-4040 | 617-513-1348

  • HMS/HSDM/HSPH Associate Ombudsperson:

Justin Neiman | justin_neiman@hms.harvard.edu | 617-432-4043 | 617-480-4700

CSPH Authorship Considerations*

General Expectations:  

  • Lead/1st and senior authors should identify a preliminary list of authorship and roles at the inception of the project and (if applicable) prior to submitting a project proposal form (e.g., EPIC project REDCap form).
  • Lead/1st and senior authors should identify co-investigators early on and outline the specific contributions authorship opportunities tied to specific contributions (e.g., attendance of analytic meetings). Approach authorship with integrity and provide opportunities for authors’ involvement early on (e.g. soliciting input on analytic plan).
  • Lead/1st author writes the first draft of the majority of content, with contributions from 2nd/3rd authors (and rest of authors once edited).
  • Senior author should be heavily involved in designing the study and editing/drafting early versions of the manuscript.
  • 2nd /3rd author(s) can each write a section of the manuscript (e.g., methods, discussion, tables) and edit tables/manuscript. 2nd author makes the second largest contribution to the paper.
  • Acknowledge your CSPH affiliation in abstracts and manuscripts.

 

Anticipated Players:

  1. Lead/1st Generally, the researcher/individual who conceived the research project, responsible for statistical analyses, manuscript writing, overall integrity of data, publication, etc. (ICMJE= a + b + c + d)
  2. 2nd author. Co-Investigator, who helped in the conception or design, first to proofread the manuscript, or helped write portions of the manuscript. (ICMJE= b + c + d)
  3. 3rd author. Co-Investigator, who helped in acquisition of data, administrative, technical, or material support. (ICMJE= b + c + d)
  4. Associated faculty. (ICMJE= b + c + d)
  5. Collaborating institution faculty. (ICMJE= b + c + d)
  6. CSPH faculty. (ICMJE= b + c + d)
  7. Senior author (principal investigator), main surgery faculty. Mentor, person who conceived or helped design the research question. (ICMJE= a + b + c + d)
  8. Statistician†, if involved. Responsible for data and stats methodological accuracy and integrity.
  9. Other Research Staff (e.g. Project Manager, Research Assistants) making meaningful contributions to study design, data acquisition, analysis, or interpretation.

To qualify for authorship, you must check at least one box in a and b. Moreover, all co-authors should qualify for c and d.

* Authorship considerations may be different for abstracts and presentations.

† Please consider the following when involving an analyst:

  • Complex data cuts and creation of variables from administrative data require considerable time, effort, and statistical/analytical knowledge. Development of data sets is integral to study design and fulfills ICJME criterion A.
  • Biostatistician faculty/staff who contribute intellectually to study design (i.e. study conception, design, statistical analyses, data structure, or interpretation of data) fulfills ICJME criteria A, regardless of who completes statistical analysis.
  • For qualitative analysis: in-depth coding is time consuming and integral to the analysis and fulfills ICJME criterion A. Someone who may not have been directly involved in data collection (i.e. conducting interviews, focus groups), may still merit authorship if they were heavily involved in coding data.
  • Coding consultation or minor input (i.e. single question answered in an email, recommendations made during seminar without substantive follow-up) does not merit co-authorship, acknowledgments are welcomed.