As agreed by many international institutions (cf. for instance ICMJE Recommendations), Argumenta recommend that authorship be based on the following four criteria:
• Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work;
• Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content;
• Final approval of the version to be published;
• 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 the parts of the work he or she has done, an author should be able to identify which co-authors are responsible for specific other parts of the work. In addition, authors should have confidence in the integrity of the contributions of their co-authors.
We include only one corresponding author per article. Any further contribution details (e.g., equal contribution) must be included in the contributors or acknowledgement sections at the end of the article.
The corresponding author must be available and responsive throughout the submission and peer review process to respond to editorial queries in a timely way. These individuals should be available after publication to respond to critiques of the work and cooperate with any requests from the journal for data or additional information should questions about the paper arise after publication.
The criteria are not intended for use as a means to disqualify colleagues from authorship who otherwise meet authorship criteria by denying them the opportunity to meet criteria 2 or 3. Therefore, all individuals who meet the first criterion should have the opportunity to participate in the review, drafting, and final approval of the manuscript.
The individuals who conduct the work are responsible for identifying who meets these criteria and ideally should do so when planning the work, making modifications as appropriate as the work progresses. The corresponding author takes primary responsibility for communication with the journal during the manuscript submission, peer review, and publication process, and typically ensures that all the journal’s administrative requirements, such as providing details of authorship, ethics committee approval, and gathering conflict of interest forms and statements, are properly completed, although these duties may be delegated to one or more co-authors.
When a large multi-author group has conducted the work, the group ideally should decide who will be an author before the work is started and confirm who is an author before submitting the manuscript for publication. All members of the group named as authors should meet all four criteria for authorship, including approval of the final manuscript, and they should be able to take public responsibility for the work and should have full confidence in the accuracy and integrity of the work of other group authors. They will also be expected as individuals to complete conflict-of-interest disclosure forms.
The byline of the article identifies who is directly responsible for the manuscript, and Argumenta lists as authors whichever names appear on the byline. If the byline includes a group name, Argumenta will list the names of individual group members who are authors or who are collaborators, sometimes called non-author contributors, if there is a note associated with the byline clearly stating that the individual names are elsewhere in the paper and whether those names are authors or collaborators.
At Argumenta we want authors to assure us that all authors included on a paper fulfil the criteria of authorship. In addition, we want assurance that no one else fulfils the criteria but has not been included as an author.
All contributors who do not meet the above criteria for authorship should be listed in the ‘Acknowledgements’. Examples of those who might be acknowledged include a person who provided purely technical or writing assistance, or a department or institutional head who provided only general support.
When we encounter disagreements among authors, we follow guidance from the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)—cf. Publication Ethics and Publication Malpractice Statement.