This study investigated authorship definitions listed on 1065 journal websites, representing seven social science disciplines. The results showed that 51.3% of the journals do not have an established authorship definition. Journals with high impact factors do not necessarily have an established authorship definition. Up to 81.1% of law journals lack authorship definitions, whereas the lowest proportion of journals having no authorship definitions was identified in the business domain. Authorship definitions were mostly accessible through hyperlinks embedded in the “instructions for authors” section of the journals’ websites. Only 3.8% of the journals directly listed authorship definitions in the instructions for authors section. A total of seven types of requirements were identified for authorship. The interdisciplinary influence of the authorship criteria developed by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) has expanded to the social sciences. The current version of the ICMJE authorship criteria was abided by 32.9% of the journals. Authorship definitions stated by journals primarily originated from those set by editorial associations and other professional associations. However, inconsistent authorship definitions were noted between journals published by the same publishers. Journal websites should provide clear, complete, and updated authorship criteria to efficiently communicate essential information to authors.
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This work was financially supported by the Center for Research in Econometric Theory and Applications (Grant No. 107L900204) from The Featured Areas Research Center Program within the framework of the Higher Education Sprout Project by the Ministry of Education (MOE) in Taiwan, and by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), Taiwan, under Grant Nos. MOST 107-3017-F-002-004 and 106-2410-H-002-094.
Appendix: Code statements
Appendix: Code statements
|Code||Locations for access to authorship definitions||Note|
|a||Instructions for author||Authorship definitions are listed in the “instructions for authors” section or equivalent webpages with various names including “author guidelines,” “guidelines for author,” and “submission guidelines”|
|b||Hyperlinks embedded in instructions for authors|
|c||Resources for authors||Authorship definitions are listed in other webpages outside of the “instructions for authors” section|
|Code||Specific authorship requirements||Note|
|1||Substantial contributions to the concept or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work||This is the first requirement listed in the third and current versions of ICMJE authorship requirement|
|2||Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content||This is the second requirement listed in the third and current versions of ICMJE authorship requirement|
|3||Final approval of the version to be published||This is the third requirement listed in the third and current versions of ICMJE authorship requirement|
|4||Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the wok are appropriately investigated and resolved||This requirement is listed in the current version of ICMJE|
|5||A substantive contribution||No statement was provided for “a substantive contribution”|
|Code||Specific acknowledgment requirements||Note|
|100||No requirements for authorship and acknowledgment||Journals have no requirements for authorship and acknowledgment|
|101||No acknowledgment statements||Journals have established authorship definitions but no acknowledgment statements|
|102||People who helped with research but did not qualify for authorship, providing intellectual assistance or technical help||“Thank all of the people who helped with the research but did not qualify for authorship Acknowledge anyone who provided intellectual assistance, technical help (including with writing and editing), or special equipment or materials”|
|103||Certain substantive aspects of the research project||“Where there are others who have participated in certain substantive aspects of the research project, they should be acknowledged or listed as contributors”|
|104||Providing support but have not contributed to research||“Those who have provided support but have not contributed to the research should be acknowledged in an Acknowledgements section”|
|105||Providing help during the research||“Individuals who provided help during the research (e.g. providing language help, writing assistance or proof reading articles etc.”|
|106||Less contribution||No statements explaining the meaning of less or marginal contribution|
|107||Proper acknowledgment||No statements explaining the meaning of “proper acknowledgment”|
|108||Collaboration||“Those who effectively collaborated to the study”|
|109||Gift and ghost authorship|
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Chang, Y. Definition of authorship in social science journals. Scientometrics 118, 563–585 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-018-2986-1
- Social sciences