Multi-authored Research Papers

A. Purpose

This policy establishes guidelines for manuscripts produced by multi-investigator research teams, addressing coherence, review, co-authorship and maintenance of data.

B. Revision history

Originally issued: March 2000

C. Persons affected

All Northwestern Health Sciences University faculty, staff, and students engaged in research activities.

D. Related research policy documents

Code of Ethical Behavior

E. Policy

Multi-investigator research teams differ significantly from the individual faculty/graduate student research teams. In particular, the former often consist of colleagues from different disciplines who perform different, specialized functions. It is possible for participants to have little knowledge or understanding of parts of the work performed by their colleagues. Sometimes, there is no single person who understands all the research.

The fundamental guidelines below should be applied to all scholarly collaborations in which multiple authorship is anticipated:

  • Principal investigators and senior faculty have special responsibilities to assure the overall cohesiveness and validity of the publications on which they appear as coauthors.
  • All authors in a group effort have a shared responsibility for the published result and should have the opportunity to review all sample preparation procedures and data, as well as all data acquisition and analysis procedures.
  • Each author in a group effort should have access to the manuscript prior to its being submitted for publication, and should agree to his or her inclusion as a coauthor. All the participants in the program should know that the paper is being prepared for publication.

Early in the project, each research group should define appropriate practices for the maintenance of data.