The name game
Suppose your friend and you decide to write a paper together. Or your professor asks you to join in a research paper he or she is working on. Such a situation will result in the paper having more than one author. Authorship is a prestigious title; who wouldn't want their name to appear as author in a journal? However, it comes with responsibility.

Discuss authorship early on
  • If there are more than one authors, discuss authorship before you start writing.
  • Write down what each person’s contribution will be.
  • Re-evaluate this contribution after you complete writing the paper.
  • Based on the contribution, decide who will be the first author. The person who has made maximum contribution to the paper is listed as the first author.

Criteria for authorship

Although criteria for authorship is a grey area, there are some guidelines set up by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which is a good source of reference.

According to the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts to Medical Journals2  :

“Authorship credit should be based on:

  1. Substantial contributions to conception and design, acquisition of data or analysis and interpretation of data.
  2. Drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content.
  3. Final approval of the version to be published.

Authors should meet conditions 1,2 and 3.”

Only data collection or literature searching will not warrant authorship; however, these contributions must be acknowledged.

An author must know what the paper is all about, and must be able to answer questions pertaining to it.

Next: Style guide