BMJ 1997; 314 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.314.7086.1046 (Published 05 April 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:1046

Guidelines exist on ownership of data and authorship in multicentre collaborations

  1. Andrew Barker, Senior research fellow in old age psychiatrya,
  2. Richard A Powell, Researcherb
  1. a University of Southampton, Thornhill Research Unit, Moorgreen Hospital, Southampton SO30 3JB
  2. b University of Exeter, Department of Mental Health, Wonford House Hospital, Exeter EX2 5AF
  3. c Department of Epidemiology and Public Health
  4. d Centre for Health Services Research
  5. e Department of Primary Health Care
  6. f Centre for Health Services Research
  7. g Department of Primary Health Care
  8. h Departments of Medicine and of Epidemiology, School of Health Sciences, University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4HH

    Editor—Richard Smith and Richard Horton have expressed concern regarding research misconduct and, in particular, misappropriation of information and ideas and definitions of authorship.1 2 Issues of data ownership and authorship are particularly problematic for multicentre projects, where the need to “publish or perish” among the increased number of researchers is compounded by the requirement for research accountability. Multicentre collaborations are becoming increasingly common: they give greater breadth of experience and expertise in developing and implementing protocols, facilitate recruitment of subjects, and allow a greater variety of setting to enhance generalisability or results. Despite its importance, little has been written about this area.3 4 5

    The National Psychosis Research Framework (currently coordinated at PRiSM, Institute of Psychiatry) recently established guidelines for multicentre collaboration.

    1. A publication plan should be constructed early on to avoid overlap of contents and ensure fair allocation of authorship. Prior written agreement must be obtained from the principal investigators of all centres whose data is to be …

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