Author Accountability

Nature seeks comments on a proposed effort to hold co-authors accountable for a manuscript’s scientific integrity. Specifically:

We suggest that journals should require that every manuscript has at least one author per collaborating research group who will go on record in a way that collectively vouches for the paper’s standards. Each would sign a statement with reference to Nature’s publication policies as follows:

“I have ensured that every author in my research group has seen and approved this manuscript. The data that are presented in the figures and tables were reviewed in raw form, the analysis and statistics applied are appropriate and the figures are accurate representations of the data. Any manipulations of images conform to Nature’s guidelines. All journal policies on materials and data sharing, ethical treatment of research subjects, conflicts of interest, biosecurity etc. have been adhered to. I have confidence that all of the conclusions presented are based on accurate extrapolations from the data collected for this study and that my colleagues listed as co-authors have contributed and deserve the designation ‘author’.”

Perhaps such discussion of author accountability will come up in some of the RCR training programs recently funded by the National Postdoctoral Association Bring RCR Home project.

2 Comments »

  1. […] Further update & suggestion in Nature: Marilyn points out where the offending article that started this thread was published (with flaws intact, see her comments below) – Am J Cardiol 2007;100:1609-1613 – and Kevin Yager at NIST advocates in Nature that each co-author “describe his or her contribution and … sign a final description of the division of labour” (this in response to Nature’s suggested approach to maintaining author accountability). […]

  2. […] have $50,000 go to my research account“), but since we’ve chatted about authorship and author accountability here already, I’ll stick with these […]

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