Guidelines on Collaborative Research and Authorship

25 April 2015

Collaboration can be one of the best things about academic life and one of the most difficult. The difficulties mostly appear when academics try to publish together. Guidelines cannot cover all contingencies or always fix authorship troubles. But there are things they can do. They can articulate the virtues and values that we think are important in research and publication and they can provide principles and processes for action. This guideline was developed at the Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine (VELiM) at the University of Sydney, Australia. It is intended to support researchers in collaborative projects to assign authorship and resolve authorship disputes. It sets out nine principles, a process for having a conversation and reaching agreement, and a process for dealing with disputes. Publication ethics are important in sole authorship. However the processes described here apply only to collaborative authorship. As collaborative authorship is more common in the sciences and social sciences, these guidelines may be less relevant to the humanities. But whenever researchers collaborate, irrespective of their disciplinary background, the principles articulated in these guidelines will apply