A Big Step Forward in Standardizing Rules for Authorship
The Proceedings in the National Academy of Sciences just published the long awaited recommendations for peer reviewed paper authorship.
Tackling a number of issues such as ‘gift’ and forged authorships, a working group headed by National Academy of Sciences president and geophysicist Marcia McNutt outlined strategies to standardize the roles of authors and responsibilities of publishers, institutions and corresponding authors.
Some aspects of the new guidelines have already been implemented by high profile journals, and Science editor Jeremy Berg was quick to post his enthusiastic support for the effort.
Specific recommendations include increased reliance on the ORCID ID system to identify authors, calling on universities to familiarize new and visiting scholars with publishing norms in the institution and fields, and asking publishers to require the use Contributor Roles Taxonomy (CRediT) to identify the roles of authors.
While variations on CRediT can be onerous and variable amongst journals, the hope is that inclusion of contributions like data curation, and both formal and informal analysis as well as more common norms like manuscript editing, will speak to a broader base in science than previous ad hoc mechanisms to determine authorship.
The new guidelines are worth your time reading now before you continue to move your manuscripts forward. There is going a greater burden on authors, but guidelines also provide a greater framework for evaluating the intellectual and technical skills brought by various stakeholders.
Full disclosure: This is the first time I used the word stakeholders in a blog. I don’t feel good about it.