Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

UCL Unit Ditches Mooted Authorship Policy

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

UCL Unit Ditches Mooted Authorship Policy

Article excerpt

Stories abound of senior academics figuring in author lists despite not having contributed significantly to papers, but it is rare to see such authorship policies documented.

But an early draft of a "publication protocol" drawn up by University College London's Evidence Based Practice Unit, written in May, stated that "as part of quality assurance for all peer reviewed research publications, papers will be reviewed by and receive input from both the [unit's] director...and the research lead...who will, therefore, be named authors on all publications".

The draft also included a provision that "if [a paper's] lead author leaves the unit and [the] paper [is] not yet submitted [to a journal] the role of corresponding author passes to [the] relevant programme lead [within the unit] to ensure submission".

In a statement, the unit admits that the draft "could give rise to misinterpretation" of its policy and subsequent versions had been corrected to make clear that "authorship credit will only ever be based on substantial contribution to the research".

The statement says that the unit's director and research lead are currently the only principal investigators in the unit, and "all staff are working on their funded projects". …

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