Guidelines on authorship requirements are common in biomedical journals but it is not known how authorship is defined by journals and scholarly professional organizations across research disciplines. Prevalence of authorship statements, their specificity and tone, and contributions required for authorship were assessed in 185 journals from Science Citation Index (SCI) and Social Science Citation Index (SSCI), 260 journals from Arts & Humanities Citation Index (A&HCI) and 651 codes of ethics from professional organizations from the online database of the Center for the Study of Ethics in the Profession, USA. In SCI, 53 % of the top-ranked journals had an authorship statement, compared with 32 % in SSCI. In a random sample of A&HCI-indexed journals, only 6 % of the journals addressed authorship. Only 71 (11 %) codes of ethics carried a statement on authorship. Almost all journals had defined authorship criteria compared with 33 % of the ethics codes ( = 75.975; P < 0.001). The tone of the statements in the journals was aspirational, whereas ethics codes used a normative language for defining authorship ( = 51.709, P < 0.001). Journals mostly required both research and writing contributions for authorship, while two-thirds of the ethics codes defined only research as a mandatory contribution. In conclusion, the lack of and variety of authorship definitions in journals and professional organizations across scientific disciplines may be confusing for the researchers and lead to poor authorship practices. All stakeholders in research need to collaborate on building the environment where ethical behaviour in authorship is a norm.
Authors:Lana Bošnjak, Livia Puljak, Katarina Vukojević and Ana Marušić
To assess the publication practices of editors in their own journals, we analysed the number of articles that Croatian editors published in the journals they edit. From 2005 to 2008, 256 decision-making editors of 180 journals published a total of 887 publications in their own journals. Out of these, 332 were relevant for their academic promotion. Only 18 editors published 5 or more articles in their own journals. A single journal had regulations for self-publishing in the instructions for authors. Although the majority of editors did not misuse their own journals for scientific publishing and academic promotion, there is a need for greater transparency of the declaration and management of editorial conflict of interest in academic and scholarly journals.