Teaching Authorship and Publication Practices in the Biomedical and Life Sciences

Science and Engineering Ethics 17 (2):341-354 (2011)
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Abstract

Examination of a limited number of publisher’s Instructions for Authors, guidelines from two scientific societies, and the widely accepted policy document of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) provided useful information on authorship practices. Three of five journals examined (Nature, Science, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) publish papers across a variety of disciplines. One is broadly focused on topics in medical research (New England Journal of Medicine) and one publishes research reports in a single discipline (Journal of Bacteriology). Similar elements of publication policy and accepted practices were found across the policies of these journals articulated in their Instructions for Authors. A number of these same elements were found in the professional society guidelines of the Society for Neuroscience and the American Chemical Society, as well as the ICMJE Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals. Taken together, these sources provide the basis for articulating best practices in authorship in scientific research. Emerging from this material is a definition of authorship, as well as policy statements on duplicative publication, conflict of interest disclosure, electronic access, data sharing, digital image integrity, and research requiring subjects’ protection, including prior registration of clinical trials. These common elements provide a foundation for teaching about scientific authorship and publication practices across biomedical and life sciences disciplines

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