Authorship and Collaboration

Why do you need an authorship agreement?

  • Ensure fair authorship among research collaborators
  • Reduce worries about authorship among the research team
  • Avoid authorship discussions in the future
  • Avoid stressful disputes of authorship
  • It is smart and preemptive
Click here for University of Kentucky "Authorship: Points to Consider"
Authorship and Collaboration

“Conflicts over authorship and a host of other issues also erupt among collaborating scientists who are peers. In the worst situations, not only does the research project suffer, but investigators also wind up leveling accusations against one another, sometimes through formal, adversarial mechanisms”. 

“Most often, problems arise in scientific collaborations because the scientists failed to explicitly define their expectations of one another. We believe that framing a partnering agreement at the outset of the research project can help enormously in setting the collaboration on a solid footing. Ideally, the agreement spells out exactly what the roles and contributions of each scientist will be and provides a mechanism for decision making for major issues such as authorship, additional collaborations, and the sharing of biological materials”. 

Gadlin, H., & Kevin Jessar. (n.d.). Preempting discord: Prenuptial agreements for scientists. The Office of Research Integrity. Retrieved March 24, 2023, from

    Tools for Pre-empting Scientific Conflict

    Guidelines at a Glance on Avoiding Plagiarism (re: Authorship)

    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). 28 guidelines at a glance on avoiding plagiarism. The Office of Research Integrity. Retrieved March 24, 2023, from; Taken from "Avoiding plagiarism, self-plagiarism, and other questionable writing practices: A guide to ethical writing" by Miguel Roig.

    Guideline numbers are HTML links to the original article.

    Guideline Summary
    24 Authorship determination should be discussed prior to commencing research collaboration and should be based on established guidelines, such as those of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors.
    25 Only those individuals who have made substantive contributions to a project merit authorship in a paper.
    26 Faculty-student collaborations should follow the same criteria to establish authorship. Mentors must exercise great care to neither award authorship to students whose contributions do not merit it, nor to deny authorship and due credit to the work of students.
    27 Academic or professional ghost authorship in the sciences is ethically unacceptable.
    28 Authors must become aware of possible conflicts of interest in their own research and to make every effort to disclose those situations (e.g., stock ownership, consulting agreements to the sponsoring organization) that may pose actual or potential conflicts of interest.