Authorship Guidelines

Authorizing Body:

Office of the Dean


William Forbes, DDS

Date Issued:

September 14, 2017

Last Update:



This guideline applies to all students, faculty and staff of Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine (OUWB), and applies to authorship on all submitted, published and presented works, including, but not limited to, manuscripts, abstracts and presentations.

Scope and Applicability:

All OUWB students, faculty members, and staff members.

Standard Practice Guideline:

In general, OUWB expects that all published and presented work include validated data that were collected and analyzed according to an established design. With rare exception, it is not acceptable to submit an abstract or manuscript, or to make a presentation based solely on a planned study or action. Authorship confers credit and has important academic, social, professional and financial implications. Authorship also implies responsibility and accountability for published or presented work. The following is intended to help guide individuals that intend to publish such that contributors who have made substantive intellectual contributions to a project that may result in a paper, abstract and/or presentation are given credit as authors, and also that contributors credited as authors understand their responsibility and accountability for the information published or presented.

The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) has developed criteria for authorship that OUWB has adopted these guidelines as policy for all published and presented works.


  1. Who Is an Author?

The ICMJE recommends that authorship be based on the following 4 criteria:

  • Substantial contribution to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; AND
  • Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; AND
  • Final approval of the version to be published; AND
  • 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 work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

In addition to being accountable for parts of the work he or she has done, an author should be able to identify which co-authors are responsible for other parts of the work. In addition, authors should have confidence in the integrity of the contributions of their co-authors.

All those designated as authors should meet all four criteria for authorship, and all who meet the four criteria should be identified as authors. Those who do not meet all four criteria should be acknowledged as non-author contributors—see Section 2. These authorship criteria are intended to reserve the status of authorship for those who deserve credit and can take responsibility for the work. All individuals who meet the first criterion should have the opportunity to participate in the review, drafting, and final approval of the manuscript or presentation.

Individuals who conduct the work are collectively responsible for identifying who meets the criteria for authorship and ideally should do so when planning the work, making modifications as appropriate as the work progresses. It is the collective responsibility of the authors to determine that all people named as authors meet all four criteria. If agreement cannot be reached about who qualifies for authorship, the institution(s) where the work was performed should be asked to investigate; the Associate Dean for Research will perform this function at OUWB.

The order of authorship should be discussed at the beginning of any study. In general, the first author is the primary contributor in the overall project and often writes the first draft of the manuscript/presentation. The senior author, often listed last in the authorship, is the most established member of the team. The corresponding author is the individual who takes primary responsibility for all communications during manuscript/abstract submission, peer review, and publication, and typically ensures that all administrative requirements, such as providing details of authorship, ethics committee approval, clinical trial registration documentation, and gathering conflict of interest forms and statements, are properly completed. The corresponding author should be available throughout the submission and peer review process to respond to editorial queries in a timely fashion, and should be available after publication to respond to critiques of the work and cooperate with any requests for data or additional information.

  1. Non-Author Contributors

Contributors are individuals who meet fewer than all 4 of the criteria for authorship, they should not be listed as authors, but they may be acknowledged. Examples of activities that do not qualify a contributor for authorship are: acquisition of funding; general supervision of a research group or general administrative support; and writing assistance, technical editing, language editing, and proofreading. Those whose contributions do not justify authorship may be acknowledged, and their contributions should be specified (e.g., "served as scientific advisors," "critically reviewed the study proposal, "edited the manuscript").

  1. The Role of Mentors in Submitted, Published and Presented Work

Students and staff of OUWB must engage a faculty mentor for all studies that could lead to publications, abstracts and/or presentations. It is possible that these faculty mentors may not qualify for authorship according to ICMJE guidelines and this policy; however, at a minimum they should be engaged to review study design before the project is initiated, and their approval of a proof paper will be required prior to submission or presentation of the work.