The definition of an “author” of a medical manuscript is clear and was well defined by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE).
According to this definition, an “author” is any individual who meets the following criteria:
A. Made a substantive contribution to the conception and design of the study, to data analysis or to interpreting the results.
B. Drafted the article or revised it critically for important intellectual content.
C. Gave final approval of the manuscript to be published.
When the study is conducted by a large group of researchers, with multiple coordinators, the researchers must select from among them those individuals who bear direct responsibility for the publication of the manuscript. These researchers must themselves meet the definition of “author” based on the accepted above-mentioned criteria.
Providing funding, routine collection of data or samples, or “general supervision” alone do not grant the status of “author”.
All individuals designated as authors of the manuscript must have been substantial partners in the study or taken part in a substantial part of the study, such that they can respond to the critique of their colleagues and of the general public with respect to essential parts of the scientific publication.
These guidelines clarify that the status of “author” is not a “gift” or “honor” granted to a certain individual only by virtue of his position. Thus, for example, it is improper to offer the status of “author” to a department head solely by virtue of the fact that he is a manager, if he did not make a substantive contribution to conducting the research as specified above.
The order of authorship on the byline of a scientific manuscript must be determined in advance and with the agreement of the researchers. It is customary that the list will be headed by the author whose contribution to the research was greatest and the most definitive in terms of its exceptional value. This author’s name will be followed by that of the author whose contribution was second in value and so on. It is customary that the last author on the list will be the senior researcher in whose laboratory or under his direct supervision the research was conducted. The last author on the list must also meet the “authorship” criteria specified above. The status of “last author” should not be used as a gift or in order to honor the person.
Every author must carefully read the entire manuscript prior to its publication and agree both to the form and content of his part as well as to the part of the other authors.
A manuscript will not be sent for publication without the review and agreement of all the authors.
Every author is personally responsible for the contents of the entire manuscript and its conclusions. Every author must be willing to defend the content of a manuscript published in his name, including his part and the parts of the other authors.
All other partners to the manuscript who do not meet the criteria for authorship will be mentioned separately in the Acknowledgements section.
The authors will indicate briefly, on a special form, the contribution of each of the authors, and attach it to the manuscript when submitting it for publication. This information will appear as a footnote in the manuscript.
A researcher will not agree to have his name appear as an “author” of an article unless he meets the required criteria as specified above.