Volume 96 Issue 11 | p. 21 | News of The Week
Issue Date: March 12, 2018

Increased transparency of author contributions would enhance scientific integrity, report says

Department: Government & Policy
Keywords: Publishing, authors, transparency, PNAS

A lack of appropriate credit and author accountability in research publications damages science, but journals and research institutions can take steps that will increase their credibility, several top scientists say in a new paper (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2018, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1715374115). The current system of authorship doesn’t clearly show what each member of the team has contributed. As part of a larger move to increase transparency, the paper’s authors—who include National Academy of Sciences President Marcia K. McNutt—argue that journals should set a basic standard for authorship and lay out clear expectations for corresponding authors. They should also require a paper’s authors to use a standard identifier like ORCID iD and the Contributor Roles Taxonomy, which details author contributions. The paper also notes that research institutions should develop policies on authorship and mediate disputes, especially disagreements involving postdocs and graduate students. Funding agencies should also adopt a standard identifier and require that contributor roles be outlined in any publications.

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