Co-Authorship

Guiding Principles

The scholarly and professional relationships among students, faculty and staff at the university shall be governed by principles of integrity and honesty. In the case of joint research or creative work by a group of collaborators, efforts shall be made to attribute credit fairly in accordance with the amount of work contributed by  each collaborator. Intentional improper assignment of co-authorship constitutes a case of alleged research misconduct. Allegations for research misconduct will be handled in accordance with administrative procedures outlined in the university’s Systemwide Executive Policy E5.211: Ethical Standards in Research and Scholarly Activities.

Distribution & Priority

Individuals collaborating on research or creative projects are encouraged to discuss, at an early stage, how decisions will be made concerning distribution of intellectual property, priority in authorship, and other such issues as applicable. It is strongly recommended that collaborators formalize their understandings and agreements in writing.  Points to consider:

  • Who will be authors and in what order?
  • Decide who or what agencies require acknowledgement.
  • Identify the corresponding author.
  • Identify where and when the work will be published.

In general, individuals are advised to follow prevailing professional standards in their disciplines for the determination of priority in authorship for a joint publication. In disciplines where no formalized standards exist, the priority in authorship shall be determined in accordance with the amount of work contributed by each collaborator. For large research projects involving many collaborators, it may be feasible to list authors alphabetically or by institution, if agreed upon by all parties concerned.

Faculty & Student Collaboration

In the case of a joint publication by a faculty and a student, the faculty shall acknowledge contribution from the student.  In general, all articles that result from a student’s thesis or dissertation should show the student as primary author.  If a student believes that his or her work has been misused by a faculty, he or she should first approach the faculty to discuss the issue. If this is not feasible or if the outcome of the discussion is unsatisfactory, the student should discuss the issue with the faculty’s administrative supervisor, who will then conduct an administrative review. If the issue remains unresolved after the administrative review, it may be brought to the Office of Graduate Education for resolution.