Definition of “authorship” may be changed

BMJ 1996; 312 doi: (Published 15 June 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:1501

Current definitions of authorship in medical research are not working. This was one thing agreed by researchers and editors who gathered in Nottingham last week at a meeting organised jointly by the BMJ, the Lancet, the University of Nottingham, and the international peer review research network, Lock-net. Current definitions of authorship are not well known and are often not accepted even when they are known; and some people who appear as authors of medical studies have done nothing, while others who have done a great deal of work are not named.

The conference agreed with Drummond Rennie, deputy editor of JAMA, that authorship brings both credit and responsibility. You cannot have one without the other. The question was how to construct a definition of authorship that gave credit to those who deserved it and responsibility (for the honesty and accuracy of research reports) …

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