Scientific authorship and intellectual involvement in the research: Should they coincide?

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An update of the widely acknowledged recommendations on how to handle authorship in research, issued by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), was issued in August, 2013. While the revised recommendations contain several clarifications compared to earlier versions, one arguably important aspect is still not addressed: the relationship between authorship and intellectual involvement in research. In this paper, it is argued that the ICMJE authorship criteria are flawed in this respect: they do not explicitly require of authors of scientific papers that they do research. It is further suggested that unless academic authorship clearly reflects to what extent individual researchers have been intellectually involved in the research and to what extent they have merely contributed with research-related work, they will, in many cases, be misleading about research merits.

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I am grateful for constructive comments from Niklas Juth, Niels Lynöe, and Tomas Månsson on an earlier version of this paper.

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The author declares that there are no competing interests.

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Correspondence to Gert Helgesson.

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Helgesson, G. Scientific authorship and intellectual involvement in the research: Should they coincide?. Med Health Care and Philos 18, 171–175 (2015).

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  • Authorship
  • Ethics
  • Intellectual involvement
  • Research