Authorship guidelines

The best practices for authorship of publications based on data collected at HWB•NMR are described.

It is HWB•NMR’s aim to facilitate the research of its users, collaborators and partners in a supportive training environment, and this is intended to provide guidance and transparency related to authorship.

While not being prescriptive, this is intended to summarise the key recommendations of biomedical journals and publication ethics experts.

According to Giovanni Frazzetto:

“Authorship is the fulfilment of a responsibility. This applies both to receiving appropriate credit and recognition and to taking the blame when something goes wrong... The scientific community prides itself on the fact that its work is based on an ethos of meritocracy, impartiality and integrity. Its actions and conduct are generally, and particularly in the case of scientific authorship and accreditation, regulated by an acknowledged system of conduct and by individual honesty”.

As is detailed in the references listed below, it is expected that each author will:

  1. contribute significantly to the conception and design of the study, or to the analysis and interpretation of the data,
  2. contribute substantial time and effort to the work involved in the study,
  3. be involved in drafting the paper and revising it critically,
  4. be able to describe their specific contributions to the paper,
  5. take public responsibility for the content of the paper,
  6. read the target journal’s “Advice to Authors”,
  7. understand that informed consent from patients included in their research may be required, especially if there are clinical implications,
  8. avoid premature publication in the mass media,
  9. read the media policies operated by the journal in which their work is to be published, and if approached by the media, give as balanced an account of their work as possible, ensuring that they point out where evidence ends and speculation begins,
  10. acknowledge HWB-NMR in publications that are based on data collected at HWB-NMR, and provide HWB-NMR staff with PDF files or reprints of such publications.

Additional notes

  1. To avoid disputes over attribution of academic credit, it is helpful to decide early on in the planning of a research project who will be credited as authors, as contributors, and who will be acknowledged, as well as the basis for authorship order (see references 4 and 5 for recommendations).
  2. Conflicts of interest by the authors must be declared to the editors. Conflicts may be personal, commercial, political, academic or financial (e.g. research funding, stock or share ownership, payment for lectures or travel, consultancies and company support for staff.)
  3. Honorary authorship is unacceptable. Any person who has not participated in a substantial way in conceiving, executing or interpreting at least part of the relevant research should not be included as an author of a publication derived from that research.
  4. Redundant publication is unacceptable. It occurs when two or more papers, without full cross reference, share the same hypothesis, data, discussion points, or conclusions. At the time of submission, authors should disclose details of related papers or abstracts, even if in a different language, and similar papers in press.
  5. Plagiarism is unethical and ranges from the unreferenced use of others’ published and unpublished ideas, including research grant applications to submission under “new” authorship of a complete paper, sometimes in a different language. All sources should be disclosed, and if large amounts of other people’s written or illustrative material is to be used, permission must be sought.


  • Biagioli M (1998) The instability of authorship: credit and responsibility in contemporary biomedicine. FASEB J. 12:3-16.
  • Committee on Publication Ethics (2001) Report: “Guidelines on Good Publication Practice”
  • Frazzetto G (2004) Who did what? EMBO reports 5: 446-448
  • Verhagen, JV, KJ Wallace, SC Collins, TR Scott (2003) QUAD system offers fair shares to all authors, Nature 426: 602.
  • Beveridge C, Morris S. (2007) Order of Merit, Nature 448: 508

Any concerns or questions should be directed to the HWB•NMR staff.