View Current

Research Authorship Procedure

This is the current version of this document. To view historic versions, click the link in the document's navigation bar.

Section 1 - Introduction

(1) Authorship of a research publication is an acknowledgement of the substantial contribution made by a researcher. It carries with it both recognition of work done and responsibility for the material contributed. 

(2) This procedure supports the principles articulated in the following documents, and should be read in conjunction with these documents:

  1. Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (the Code);
  2. Authorship: A guide to supporting the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (the Guide); and
  3. Responsible Conduct of Research Policy.
Top of Page

Section 2 - Audience

(3) University of Newcastle (the University) Researchers.

Top of Page

Section 3 - Scope

(4) This procedure:

  1. applies to all research outputs;
  2. details the criteria and protocols for acknowledging research authorship and seeks to recognise the restrictions associated with commercial publication; and
  3. details pathways for resolving any conflict that may arise as a result of the attribution of research authorship.
Top of Page

Section 4 - Document Specific Definitions

(5) In the context of this document:

  1. as defined in the Guide, the corresponding author is the author who, as agreed by all co-authors, is responsible for communication with publishers, managing communication between co-authors, and maintaining records of the authorship agreement; 
  2. as defined in the Guide, research output communicates or makes available the findings of research that may be in hardcopy, electronic or other form; and
  3. University Researcher is as defined by the Responsible Conduct of Research Policy.
Top of Page

Section 5 - Criteria for Authorship

(6) It is a breach of the Code to claim, demand or accept authorship, or to offer or attribute authorship to someone else, without that person having made a significant intellectual or scholarly contribution as described in clause 7. It is also a breach to fail to offer to ascribe authorship to people who meet the criteria described in clause 7.

(7) As detailed in the Guide, authorship must be based on a significant intellectual or scholarly contribution that comprises as a minimum at least one and preferably a combination of two or more of the following:

  1. conception and design of the project or output;
  2. acquisition of research data where the acquisition has required significant intellectual judgement, planning, design, or input;
  3. contribution of knowledge, where justified, including Indigenous knowledge;
  4. analysis or interpretation of research data; 
  5. drafting significant parts of the research output or critically revising it so as to contribute to its interpretation.

Contributions other than authorship

(8) Research contributions that do not meet the criteria for authorship should be acknowledged where appropriate, including funding bodies and editors. Researchers should obtain permission from named contributors before acknowledging them in a research output, unless such permission is provided via a collaborative agreement signed on behalf of the University.  

(9) As described in the Guide, researchers who intend to publish Indigenous knowledge obtained through sources including unpublished manuscripts or recordings should seek approval from the Indigenous people involved in the research, or from the Indigenous community from which the knowledge originates, and the contributors to the knowledge should be acknowledged.

(10) Examples of contributions that are not considered to meet the criteria for authorship are detailed in Section 2.1 of the Guide.

Top of Page

Section 6 - Collaborations.

(11) Collaborating researchers must each agree on their status as an author of any publication resulting from research at an early stage in the collaboration, and this should be reviewed prior to the commencement of writing any publication evolving from the research. As described in the Guide, the agreement should be in writing and include:

  1. identification of those who will be recognised as authors;
  2. a description of the contribution of each author; and
  3. an indication of the order in which the authors appear on the research output, consistent with any applicable disciplinary norms, publication requirements and the contribution made or required by each author.

(12) Where a research publication has multiple authors, a corresponding author must be determined prior to the preparation of a research output.

(13) The corresponding author must be determined by agreement in writing with collaborating researchers and/or in line with discipline conventions.

Top of Page

Section 7 - Consent and Statement of Authorship

(14) A person who qualifies as an author can only be included or excluded as an author with their written consent, unless clause 20 applies.

(15) An author must provide details of their contribution with their consent, as it relates to the criteria listed in clause 7.

(16) Consent may be indicated by email in cases where it is not practical to obtain signed notification of consent.

(17) Where research is published, the corresponding author is required to complete and facilitate the completion of a Statement of Authorship and Location of Data Form, unless clause 18 applies. The corresponding author is also responsible for ensuring that the completed Statement of Authorship and Location of Data Form is stored with any data underpinning the research publication.

(18) Where the publication process includes documentation that would duplicate the information provided on the Statement of Authorship and Location of Data Form, it is not necessary to complete this form as well. In these circumstances the corresponding author will remain responsible for ensuring that any such publication documentation is stored with any data underpinning the research publication.

(19) All notifications of consent must be retained by the corresponding author.

(20) If an author is deceased or cannot be contacted despite reasonable efforts and consent cannot be obtained, the publication can proceed provided there is no basis to believe that this person would have objected. If an author is deceased, this should be noted in the publication.

(21) Where another acknowledgment of contribution is given in line with clause 8 and 9, consent must also be obtained from the contributor prior to publication.

Top of Page

Section 8 - Disputes about Authorship and Acknowledgement

Pre publication

(22) Where agreement on acknowledgement, attribution or ordering of authorship cannot be achieved prior to publication, collaborating authors and other stakeholders must reconsider the applicable disciplinary principles and authorship criteria, and take all reasonable steps to attempt to resolve the matter themselves.

(23) Where agreement remains unresolved following the steps described in clause 22, disputing parties must seek assistance from the relevant College:

  1. Research Integrity Advisor;
  2. Head of School; or
  3. Pro Vice-Chancellor.

Post publication

(24) Where authorship is in dispute and publication has already occurred, the matter must be referred to the Research Breach Investigation Procedure as a potential breach of the Code.

Top of Page

Section 9 - Roles and Responsibilities


(25) Researchers are responsible for:

  1. offering authorship to all those - including Higher Degree by Research (HDR) candidates - who meet the criteria set out in clause 7, and for not offering authorship to those who do not meet that criteria, regardless of their role or the extent of their technical or other contribution;
  2. ensuring that all contributors to the research, including the provision of facilities, materials or funding, are properly acknowledged in line with discipline conventions and contractual agreements;
  3. ensuring the accuracy and integrity of their contribution, and for taking reasonable steps to ensure the accuracy and integrity of other contribtions, to any publication;
  4. assigning authorship in accordance with this Procedure and the principles of authorship identified in the Code, the Guide, and the Responsible Conduct of Research Policy;
  5. alerting the corresponding author to any author or contributor who may have been inadvertently omitted;
  6. maintaining a knowledge of and applying any relevant discipline conventions; and
  7. attempting to resolve and/or co-operate in any process undertaken to resolve a dispute regarding authorship.

Corresponding Authors

(26) For each publication, the corresponding author is responsible for:

  1. ensuring that all contributors are properly recognised;
  2. recording and retaining records regarding the attribution of authorship;
  3. managing research data that underpins the publication in accordance with the Research Data and Primary Materials Management Procedure;
  4. managing communication with publishers; 
  5. ensuring “The University of Newcastle, Australia” is included in the author by-line for all University affiliated authors; and
  6. ensuring contributions that do not meet the criteria for authorship are acknowledged in line with discipline practice on a discretionary basis, and clearly documenting the basis for the exercise of the discretion.