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4. THE Need for Authorship Guidelines of the University of Ibadan

  1. Definitions of Authorship and Introduction of the Subject
  2. Various Forms of Contribution to Research Outputs
  3. Unacceptable Authorship
  4. Areas of Litigation and Conflicts that May Arise from Collaboration
  5. Nature of Collaborative Research, Scholarly or Artistic Work

AND Definitions of Common Intellectual Properties

10. Expected Steps to be Taken Before Undergoing Collaborative Research

11. Dealing with Primary Products and Secondary Products Arising from Collaborative Efforts

12. Recommendations for Best Practices in Authorship

13. REsearch Misconduct

14. SERIOUS REsearch Misconduct

15. Addressing Allegations of Research Misconduct and Serious Research Misconduct



1. Preamble

The following principles define the University of Ibadan’s policy on authorship of scholarly publications.

2. Applicability

This document presents guidelines for the appropriate attribution of credit and disposition of research products. These guidelines are intended to apply to research products in the broadest sense and to encompass research activities and materials spanning a continuum, from quantitative analysis of experimental data to qualitative interpretation of anthropological narratives. The guidelines also apply to other forms of intellectual product such as monographs, technical reports and briefings.

The guidelines contained herein are designed for use by Faculty members, Staff, Postdoctoral Scholars and Associates, Fellows, Trainees and Students affiliated with the University of Ibadan.

The document presents a systematic discussion of two related issues:

a. The allocation of responsibility and credit for scholarly work, and

b. Complexities and difficulties in the current research activities which often make it difficult to determine the nature and extent of contributions and responsibilities in collaborative research. The Guidelines are a key element in maintaning a climate of colleagial effectiveness and efficiency which is conducive to the highest levels of quality research outputs and, at the same time, is as fair as possible to academic researchers, co-workers (who may include community engagement partners) and postgraduate student researchers alike.

For the purpose of this document, research refers to all activities related to deliberate search for knowledge; either in the laboratory, library or elsewhere.

3. Purpose
Scholarly integrity and responsible conduct and reporting of research are essential for maintaining public trust in the research enterprise and for community benefit from research discoveries.

4. The Need for Authorship Guidelines of the University of Ibadan

Integral to the University of Ibadan’s vision of distinguished scholarship and its commitment to establish the University among the top research universities in the world is an acknowledgement of the contribution that academic researchers, their associates/co-workers and postgraduate students make, and continue to make, in the realisation of this goal. At the same time, the University recognises that as research problems become more complex and/or interdisciplinary, greater numbers of researchers, co-workers, colleagues and postgraduate students are drawn into a research project with a concomitant increase in the production of published research materials arising from the research. In any academic setting, the ethical and procedural issues around authorship should be considered. Therefore, it is expedient that guidelines concerning authorship in the University be formulated.

The purpose of these Guidelines, therefore,is to pre-empt contentious issues around authorship as pressure to quantify research activities and output within universities increases by providing a framework. It also offers suggestions for the rational, fair, and ethical resolution of conflicts around authorship of a published research output (that is, whose names should appear on the published material, be it a paper in an accredited academic publication, a book or book chapter, a conference proceeding, paper or poster, or any other form of publicly or privately published research output).

  1. Definitions of Authorship and Introduction of the Subject

5.1 Defining Authorship

According to WUSTL, 2009, definitions of authorship differ among various disciplines and professional journals. However, in its broad sense, an author is generally considered to be an individual who has made substantial intellectual contributions to a research activity. Specifically, all authors should meet the following three criteria:

    1. Scholarship: Contribute significantly to the conception, design, execution, and/or analysis and interpretation of data.
    2. Authorship: Participate in drafting, reviewing, and/or revising the manuscript for intellectual content.
    3. Approval: Approve the manuscript to be published in order to be able to attest to the veracity and integrity of a part of or all of the contents.
  1. Various Forms of Contribution to Research Outputs

6.1 Lead Author: As a practical matter, in the case of publications with multiple authors, one author should be designated as the lead author. He/she assumes overall responsibility for the manuscript, and also may serve as the managerial and corresponding author, as well as providing a significant contribution to the research effort. A lead author is not necessarily the principal investigator or project leader. He is responsible for:

a. Authorship: Including as co-authors all and only those individuals or corporate bodies who meet the authorship criteria set forth in this policy,

b. Approval: Providing the draft of the manuscript to each individual contributing author for review and consent for authorship. The lead author should obtain from all coauthors their agreement to be designated as such and their approval of the manuscript, and

c. Integrity: The lead author is responsible for the integrity of the work as a whole, and ensuring that reasonable care and effort have been taken to determine that all the data are complete, accurate and reasonably interpreted.

6.2 Co-authors
All co-authors of a publication are responsible for:

6.2.1 Authorship: By providing consent to authorship to the lead author, co-authors acknowledge that they meet authorship criteria. A co-author should have participated sufficiently in the work to take responsibility for appropriate portions of the content.

6.2.2. Approval: By providing consent to authorship to the lead author, co-authors have acknowledged that they have reviewed and approved the manuscript.

6.2.3 Integrity: Each co-author is responsible for the content of all appropriate portions of the manuscript, including the integrity of any applicable research.

It should be stated that an individual retains the right to refuse co-authorship of a manuscript if s/he does not satisfy the criteria for authorship.

6.3 Acknowledgements

Individuals who may have made some contribution to a publication, but who do not meet the criteria for authorship, such as staff, editorial assistants, medical writers, or other individuals, can provide a valuable contribution to the writing and editing of publications. Since those contributions do not meet the criteria for authorship, those individuals should be listed in an acknowledgement and/or contributorship section of the work (Macintyre 1995).

6.4 Research Project Supervision

For any publication emanating from a PhD/MD research work, it is expected that the student should be the lead author. For publication emanating from Bachelor and Master degree projects, flexibility in the choice of lead authors is allowed.

7 Unacceptable Authorship

Guest, gift and ghost authorship ((Flanagin et al. 1998) are all inconsistent with the definition of authorship; they are unacceptable and a violation of the policy on authorship.

Guest (honorary, courtesy or prestige) authorship is defined as granting authorship out of appreciation or respect for an individual, or in the belief that expert standing of the guest will increase the likelihood of publication, credibility or status of the work.

Gift authorship is credit offered from a sense of obligation, tribute or dependence, within the context of an anticipated benefit, to an individual who has not contributed to the work.

Ghost authorship is the failure to identify as an author someone who made substantial contributions to the research or writing of a manuscript that merited authorship, or an unnamed individual who participated in writing the manuscript. Ghost authorship may range from authors for hire with the understanding that they will not be credited, to major contributors not named as an author.

8 Areas of Litigation and Conflicts that May Arise from Collaboration

8.1 Research Funding

It is important for authors, in manuscripts submitted for review and publication, to acknowledge/disclose the source(s) of support for the work, including research and educational grants, salary or other support, contracts, gifts, and departmental, institutional and hospital support as appropriate.

8.2 Financial Conflicts of Interest

Authors shall fully disclose, in all manuscripts to journals, grant applications, and at professional meetings, all relevant financial interests that could be viewed as a potential conflict of interest or as required by the University and/or journal. All such financial interests must also be reported.

8.3 Authorship Order/Primary Research Product(s)

The order of authors on research publications and the allocation of benefits from other research products is a collective decision of the authors or study group. It is not possible for the University to define the order of authorship. In conjunction with the lead author, co-authors should discuss authorship order at the outset of the project and revise their decision as needed. All authors must work together to make these informed judgments.

8.4 Secondary Research Product(s)

Concept paper should be developed by the collaborators, at the outset, to safeguard the interest of all collaborators in the event of secondary research products and or in the utilization of the primary data. Reasonable agreement, which encourages advancement of knowledge as well as ensuring equity in the allocation of any products that might emanate directly or indirectly, should be reached and documented.

9 Nature of Collaborative Research, Scholarly or Artistic Work AND DEFINITIONS OF COMMON INTELLECTUAL PROPERTIES

A Policy on Intellectual Property Rights will be addressed in a separate document.

10. Expected Steps to be Taken Before Undergoing Collaborative Research

Collegiality in Research

When disagreements arise over the maintenance and disposition of research materials, data and related publications and/or inventions, the effectiveness of those involved inevitably suffers. The rancour that can result undermines not only the goodwill but also the productivity and reputation of those involved, as well as of their community of peers. Misunderstandings and failed communication nearly universally underlie such disagreements. Many past conflicts involving research data and intellectual property might be averted by early clarification of the prevailing standards of the group, together with a clear explanation of the manner in which the group was to interact with the broader academic community, as well as with the sponsors of the research. The ability to rely upon a previously articulated and impartially applied set of standards will greatly reduce the potential for conflict.

Confidence in impartiality depends to a great degree upon the uniformity with which policies are applied and the transparency of the process that leads to their implementation. Science and society can be expected to create new situations unanticipated by those who frame guidelines. Therefore, the first injunction and most important principle of these guidelines is to be collegial: to communicate, be reasonable and be fair. While implementation of policy entails more than the articulation of a few general precepts, the principle of collegiality is at the heart of all of the specific prescriptions that follow. This principle suggests:

  1. That research teams should discuss data handling, credit, publication, disposition of data and research materials, and future directions of the research, early in the course of their work. The goals of the research unit or group should be clear and shared with all members. Transparency and fairness in the application of standards are essential to prevent breach of confidence. To promote this, policies should be shared with every member of a research unit or group -- at entrance, at intervals, and when the composition of the group or its direction changes.
  1. That disputes are best settled locally by the involved parties and/or the laboratory or unit head. If such efforts fail, then there are other pathways for dispute resolution
  1. That each group should post its policies and discuss them as part of orientation of new members.

11. Dealing with Primary Products and Secondary Products Arising from Collaborative Efforts

Collaborative Relationships: Collaborators should specify, in advance and in writing, how the process by which the rights to Intellectual property arising out of the collaboration will be determined. The determination of rights should be based on the extent and nature of the contribution, and not on differences in power. Any waiver or modification of rights requires informed consent.

Contribution and Recognition: Ideally, authorship of published work should only include all those who have materially contributed to, and share responsibility for, the contents of the publication.

Contributors: All contributors to scholarly works should be recognized, regardless of their status at the University.

Ownership of Works Created by Others: It is not possible for an individual to have exclusive ownership of a complete work created, in whole or in part, by others, unless Intellectual property rights have been willingly waived or assigned under informed consent by the creator(s). It is possible for the University to own, exclusively, the work created by individuals.

Recognising Contributions by the University: The University as a research and teaching institution strives to provide an environment in which scholars are able to pursue their teaching and research activities. Therefore, in reporting their work, members of the University should acknowledge the University as the location at which the work was done. In the spirit of collegiality, developers of Intellectual property are encouraged to recognise the University's indirect support (such as library resources, computing infrastructure), and direct (financial) contribution (if applicable).

12. Recommendations for Best Practices in Authorship

Procedures governing authorship often vary widely by discipline and even by research group. For the best practices in authorship, the following recommendations will be useful irrespective of discipline and research group.

(a) Proactive Discussion: When research is about to be carried out, there should be early discussions of who will be an author and the possible order of authors. Criteria for authorship should be discussed before preparing a publication, and possibly even before starting a project. Each participant should have an understanding of what kind of work merits authorship.

(b) Order of Authorship: The lead author is generally defined as the person whose names comes first on the author’s byline and makes a major contribution to the work. All the authors at the outset of a project should establish the order of authorship, preferably in a written memorandum of understanding. This memorandum of understanding should reference the authors’ agreement to abide by the University default policy on authorship. As projects proceed, agreements regarding authorship may need to be changed. It is the responsibility of the lead author to assure that the contributions of study participants are properly recognised.

(c) Student Authorship: The role of the student in research teams has to be fully defined in writing before the beginning of the work. Students should be invited to share authorship provided they meet the criteria for authorship. The questions of intellectual property right should be carefully considered.

(d) Accessibility to Project Information: All authors should have appropriate access to the data related to the project, data set used for the analysis, and they should have access to the results of all the analyses that have been conducted.

(e) Accountability: Every author listed on a publication is presumed to have approved the final version of the manuscript. Each author is responsible for the integrity of the research being reported.

(f) Disputes Over Authorship: Disagreements over authorship, for instance, who has a right to be an author or the order of authorship, should be resolved by the project leader in collegial consultation with other persons involved in the work. When this process cannot reach resolution, the project leader should arrange with his or her unit head for arbitration by a knowledgeable and disinterested third party acceptable to all the authors. If the authors cannot agree on a mutually acceptable arbitrator, then the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) shall appoint an arbitrator. During the arbitration process, all the authors are expected to refrain from unilateral actions that may jeopardise the authorship interests and rights of other authors.

(g) Inter-Institution Collaborations: When collaborative work takes place between institutions, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has to be developed and signed among the collaborators and strictly adhered to in order to avoid disputes over authorship. If disputes arise, MOU has to be revisited to clarify the situation.

13. Research Misconduct

Research Misconduct is significant behaviour that improperly appropriates the intellectual property or contributions of others, that intentionally impedes the progress of research, or that risks corrupting the research record or compromising the integrity of research practices. Such behaviours are unethical and unacceptable in proposing, conducting or reporting research, or in reviewing the proposals or research reports of others.

Examples of research misconduct are the following:

    1. Fabrication of Data: A researcher shall not claim data where none has been obtained.
    2. Falsification of Data: A researcher shall not falsify data, including changing records.
    3. Misrepresentation: A researcher or reviewer shall not, with intent to deceive or in reckless disregard for the truth,

· State or present a material of significant falsehood; or

· Omit a fact so that what is stated or presented as a whole states or presents a material of significant falsehood.

    1. Misappropriation: A researcher or reviewer shall not intentionally or recklessly

· Plagiarise - the presentation of the documented words or ideas of another as his or her own, without attribution appropriate for the medium of presentation. Plagiarism includes reproducing by copying, paraphrasing or summarising, without acknowledgement, any work of another person with the deceptive intention to portray the work as a researcher's or reviewer's own work, with or without the knowledge or consent of that other person;

· Make use of any information in breach of any duty of confidentiality, including those associated with the review of any manuscript or grant application;

· Omit reference to the relevant published work of others for the purpose of inferring personal discovery of new information.

    1. Misleading Ascription of Authorship: A researcher or reviewer shall not intentionally or recklessly ascribe authorship misleadingly, including the listing of authors without their permission, breaching the moral rights of authors, attributing work to others who have not, in fact, contributed to the research, and failing to acknowledge appropriately works primarily produced by a research student/trainee or associate.
    2. Interference: A researcher or reviewer shall not intentionally and without authorisation take, sequester or materially damage any research-related material of another researcher, including the apparatus, reagents, biological materials, writings, data, hardware, software or any other substance or device used or produced in the conduct of research.
    3. Other practices that seriously deviate from those commonly accepted within the research community for proposing, conducting or reporting research.
    4. Intentional infringements of the University's policies governing research practice.
    5. Obstruction of Investigations of Research Misconduct: : A researcher shall not intentionally withhold or destroy evidence in breach of a duty to disclose or preserve, falsifying evidence, encouraging, soliciting or giving false testimony, and attempting to intimidate or victimise witnesses, potential witnesses, or potential leads to witnesses or evidence before, during, or after the commencement of any formal or informal investigation.

Research misconduct does not include honest errors or honest differences in interpretation or judgments of data. Free scientific inquiry naturally includes proposing hypotheses that may ultimately prove false, offering interpretations of data that conflict with other interpretations, and making observations and analyses that may prove to be in error.

14. Serious Research Misconduct

Examples of Serious Research Misconduct are the following:

- Recurrence or continuation of conduct, which has previously been found to be research misconduct on the part of the staff member;

- A failure to follow research protocols approved by Research Ethics Committees or statutory licence conditions, where that failure has resulted in an unreasonable risk or actual harm to humans, animals or the environment;

- Deliberately publishing false research results that become part of public records;

- Conduct that is alleged to be research misconduct, but where the consequences of the alleged breach result in serious harm to the University, or other staff, students or visitors, and the conduct is characterised by a reckless and wilful disregard for the consequences of the alleged conduct.

15. Addressing Allegations of Research Misconduct and Serious Research Misconduct

  1. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) or his designate shall be vested with this task. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) will receive initial complaints or allegations of research misconduct.
  2. On the receipt of a complaint or allegation of research misconduct, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) may make enquiries; secure the relevant evidence, including experimental material, IT records, other documents or names of witnesses, as necessary. .
  3. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) shall consider the circumstances of staff in the relevant workplace where a complaint of research misconduct has been made, arrange to defuse workplace tensions, protect non-involved researchers, take steps to ensure that the confidentiality of the allegations is maintained during the processes and generally ensure that people are treated fairly.
  4. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) shall refer the allegations of research misconduct to two appointed Research Misconduct Assessors who consider the allegations to see if, based on the material available:
    1. The conduct that is central to the substance of the allegations, if proven, would amount to research misconduct; and
    2. Whether a prima facie case of research misconduct exists.

Where (a) or (b) applies, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) will report the allegations to the Vice-Chancellor.

If both (a) and (b) above are not satisfied, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) either dismisses the allegations or refers the allegations to another relevant process (for example - as misconduct or serious misconduct that is not research or serious research misconduct), informing the staff member who is the subject of the allegations, accordingly.

If there is sufficient information provided to substantiate the allegations without further investigation, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) shall formulate charges of misconduct and proceed to refer the allegations to the Vice-Chancellor.


British Sociological Association (1996) BSA guidelines for postgraduate research in sociology,


Department of Sociology, University of Pennsylvania (1999) Co-authorship between Faculty and Graduate Student in Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania,


Digiusto, E. (1994). Equity in authorship: A strategy for assigning credit when publishing. Social Science & Medicine, 38(1), 55-58.

Endersby, J. W. (1996). Collaborative Research in the Social Sciences: Multiple Authorship and Publication Credit. Social Science Quarterly (University of Texas Press), 77(2), 375-392.

Fine, M. A., & Kurdel, L. A. (1993). Reflections on determining authorship credit and authorship order on faculty-student collaborations. American Psychologist, 48(11), 1141.

Flanagin, A., Carey, L.A., Fontanarosa, P.B., Phillips, S.T., Pace, B.P., Lundberg, G.D. and Rennie, D. (1998). Prevalence of articles with honorary authors and ghost authors in peer-reviewed medical journals, Journal of the American Medical Association, 280, 222-224.

Guidelines on Good Publication Practice,Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)

Louis, K. S., Holdsworth, J. M., Anderson, M. S., & Campbell, E. G. (2008). Everyday Ethics in Research: Translating Authorship Guidelines into Practice in the Bench Sciences. Journal of Higher Education, 79(1), 88-112.

Macintyre, S. (1995) MRC Social and Public Health Sciences Unit Policy on Authorship of Publications and Presentations,


Osborne, Jason W., and Holland, A. (2009). What is authorship, and what should it be? A survey of prominent guidelines for determining authorship in scientific publications. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 14(15).

Responsible Authorship Quick Guide, Northern Illinois University

WUSTL (2009).Policy for Authorship on Scientific and Scholarly Publications, Washington University in St. Louis. Accessed on 23rd March 2011.


Grateful acknowledgement is extended to the following staff of the University of Ibadan who served on the Ad-Hoc Committee that produced the first draft of the Policy on Authorship of Scholarly Publications:

Prof. Oye Gureje, Dept of Psychiatry Chairman/Convener

Prof. O. A. Moronkola, Dept of Human Kinetics and Health Education. Member

Dr Ifeoma Isiugo-Abanihe, Institute of Education Member

Dr Olanike Adeyemo, Dept of Veterinary Public Health & Preventive Medicine Member

Dr O. Fagbola, Dept of Agronomy Member

Dr M. A. Kehinde, Dept of English Member

Dr M. O. Oyewola, Dept of Mechanical Engineering Member

Dr. P. C. Obutte, Dept of Public & International Law Member

Mr O. A. Afolabi, Assistant Registrar, DVC Academic Office Secretary

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