Authorship Policy   



This policy describes essential considerations and requirements in responsible authorship and publication and protects the interests of UAB authors in the scientific and scholarly process.

Effective Date: 08/7/2014


Review/Revised Date: 03/20/2023


Category: Academic Affairs


Policy Owner: Provost

Policy Contact: Associate Provost, Academic Administration





Scholarly integrity and the responsible conduct and reporting of research and academic works are critical to research and academic progress, to maintaining public trust, and for the public to benefit from discovery. The University's commitment in this regard is further supported by the UAB Enterprise Code of Conduct. Academic publications and presentations must be presented in sufficient detail and accuracy to enable others to understand and challenge the conclusions. For the authors of such work, successful publication improves opportunities for academic funding and promotion while enhancing scientific and scholarly achievement and repute. At the same time, the benefits of authorship are accompanied by a number of responsibilities for the proper planning, conducting, analysis, and reporting of research and the content and conclusions of other scholarly work.
This purpose of this policy is to describe the essential considerations and requirements in responsible authorship and publication and to protect the interests of UAB authors in the scientific and scholarly process. They also decrease the vulnerability of authors and the institution to allegations of research misconduct arising from errors in processing materials for submission to funding agencies or publishers. These standards were requested and developed by UAB authors for the benefit of UAB authors and are upheld by the entire UAB academic community.


This policy applies to publications by faculty, staff, fellows, residents, postdoctoral and graduate trainees, and students who are employed by or affiliated with UAB and in which the authored work will identify UAB. For the purposes of this policy, these individuals will collectively be referred to as
This policy applies to knowledge disseminated through publications in scientific and scholarly journals, books, monographs, other manuscripts, abstracts, and public presentations, as well as information contained in grant applications, guidelines, and policy statements intended for the general public, whether in print or distributed in any media or electronic form, including the internet. The policy also applies to textbooks or other learning resources intended primarily for classroom use. For the purposes of this policy, these documents will collectively be referred to as “scholarly works”. This policy does not apply to publications in which UAB employees serve solely as editors. In cases of conflicting requirements or regulations by a collaborative entity (e.g., national practice research network), publisher (e.g., specified author order), or agency, the scholarly integrity should be consistent with the intent of this policy. It is important to note that patents have specific requirements for inventorship and other legal requirements that take precedence over this policy.
Creative works, including generation of intellectual property regardless of medium or format, not meeting the descriptions above (e.g., musical compositions, poetry, visual art, novels, etc.) should follow provisions and standards appropriate to their discipline and/or rules of submission to assure scholarly integrity and responsible dissemination consistent with this policy.


Policy Statement 

Assignment and Responsibilities of Authorship

Authorship should be carefully considered in the discussions among collaborators on a project prior to compiling a scholarly work for submission to a public forum. It is required that all authors agree prior to submission to the inclusion of individuals as an author and their place in the listing of authors, unless authors are required to be ordered alphabetically. It is often the case that revision of a work requires additional effort which would justify either changing the order of authors or adding new authors. In either case, these changes must be discussed and agreed upon by all authors. It is the responsibility of the corresponding author to document these changes and the agreement of co-authors to such changes. These requirements are in addition to those frequently required by editors, publishers, and other stakeholders in the processing of scholarly submissions and publications.
UAB expects each individual named as an author to have made a substantial contribution to the conception, conduct and/or design of the work, and/or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work. In general, those participants who meet such criteria should be considered as authors. Those participants who do not meet such criteria may be appropriately included in an acknowledgement section of a scholarly work. Being a supervisor, mentor, or supplier of resources (e.g., financial or otherwise) for any author is not sufficient grounds on their own to justify authorship. Individuals should be aware that some discipline’s and publisher's standards or qualifications for authorship may be stricter than those set forth here.
Creative content originating from non-human origin (e.g., artificial intelligence) should be clearly attributed to the originating analytics program used. The authors are recommended to follow the policies and guidelines of the grant funding or publishers since they may have additional requirements.
Further, most authors are responsible for some subset of the original elements (e.g., data) that are the basis of a publication. In accordance with the UAB Records Retention Policy and Schedule, each author (and/or their institution) is required to retain the elements (e.g., original/raw data, analyses, and figures) for which they are principally responsible. UAB also requires the corresponding author to retain and maintain all original and relevant data for the entire scholarly work. It is the responsibility of the corresponding author to share data in public databases as required by the funding agency and publication outlet. Publications that are based on terabytes of data (i.e., "big data") are typically retained at one site and may not belong to any of the authors. In these cases, a third party may be considered custodian of the records.
One author, usually the corresponding author, should be familiar with, and responsible for, the integrity of the entire work. If the work, or any part thereof, is found to be faulty or fraudulent, all co-authors may share responsibility. The corresponding author must ensure that all authors have:

  1. Approved the final version to be published; and
  2. Agreed to be accountable for appropriately addressing questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work.
It is the responsibility of the corresponding author to assure the originality of work prior to submission to a public forum, through means such as plagiarism detecting software or services, image analysis software, or other such resources appropriate to the creative work. As funding agencies, publishers, and other submission entities routinely check originality of submissions, not taking such steps leaves the authors vulnerable to allegations of research misconduct and/or disciplinary outcomes.

Listing of Affiliations

The affiliations listed for a publication are important in the attribution of the scholarly work to the institution(s) where it was performed. This may be noted in a number of ways, depending on the requirements of the publisher and the practices in the discipline. It is common for an author to list more than one affiliation to represent the different assignments and positions they hold within an institution. It is expected that these represent documented and approved appointments at the listed institution. Authors should be aware that appointments at more than one institution are governed by the UAB Enterprise Conflict of Interest Conflict of Commitment. UAB authors must receive institutional approval to hold appointments at other institutions. No appointments at other institutions should be listed for an author unless the appointment has received institutional approval.

It is also common for funding agencies to require documentation of these appointments if funding from the agency is cited in the publication. If an author has moved from a different institution to UAB and no additional work on the project was performed at UAB, the affiliation should be listed as the former institution with a footnote to denote the author’s current address and contact information at UAB. Similarly, if an author moves from UAB to a different institution, but the scholarly work was conducted at UAB, then that author should list their affiliation as UAB with a footnote to denote their current address and contact information at the new institution. If the work was conducted at both institutions, then both UAB and the former institution should be listed as affiliations and a footnote is recommended to clarify the transition.

Listing Funding Sources

UAB authors should list financial support for projects in all scholarly works. In many works, this listing will be independent of the acknowledgements section. It is important that sufficient detail is provided so the funding can be identified by an independent audit (e.g., a grant number and the funding agency). Only funding directly used to support the scholarly work described in the submission should be listed, not all funding available to the authors.

Authors should acknowledge all substantive assistance in the conduct of the work being reported, such as technical assistance and assistance of advisors, writers, statistical assessors, figure developers, etc. They should also acknowledge all support from core and shared university facilities, and list grant numbers when appropriate. Individuals listed in the acknowledgments must agree to be so listed and documented by the corresponding author, with exception of posthumous acknowledgments or in situations in which personnel have become estranged and advised against further communication.
Prohibition against Ghostwriting

While UAB understands that outside assistance may be required to complete a study or a publication, such as fee-for-service editing, technical editing, language editing, or similar practices, the practice of "ghostwriting" is strictly prohibited. Ghostwriting is defined as the practice in which the author(s) fail to name as an author of a publication an individual or entity who has made a substantial contribution to the publication.

UAB strictly prohibits authors from engaging in the practice of ghostwriting in which manufacturers (or third party contractors on behalf of the manufacturer) or other entities pay authors to claim authorship of papers or other works which were entirely produced by the entity and for which the author did not have a significant role.


Author Conflict of Interest

All funding sources supporting the work and all institutional or corporate affiliations related to the publication must be disclosed by any author to the editors, publishers, or audience at time of any activity that is included in the definitions section above. This includes any potential conflict of interest (UAB Enterprise Conflict of Interest Conflict of Commitment), financial or otherwise (e.g., consultancies, stock ownership, equity interests, patent licensing arrangements, lack of access to data (to the extent possible under the law and federal policies), lack of control of the decision to publish, or any other potential conflict) that relates to the research, whether the UAB Conflict of Interest Review Board (CIRB) has declared it so or not. The author's disclosures are required to include any significant financial interests related to the work that were held during the collection of data for a publication or during the writing of the work. UAB supports full transparency and disclosure by all authors to one's collaborators and co-authors. Authors who have commercial associations must assert that they accept full responsibility for the conduct of the trial/research/publication, had full access to all of the data (to the extent possible under the law and federal policies), and controlled the decisions on content and publication.
Authors should encourage publishers to publish all conflicts for the protection of all authors and the University or retain documentation that all conflicts were disclosed to the publisher regardless if the disclosures were included in the publication.
In cases in which an author has a financial interest in textbooks or other learning materials that are required or recommended for use in UAB classes, that interest must be disclosed in writing to potential purchasers, such as in syllabi. Authors should follow school or departmental textbook selection processes to ensure that the pedagogical benefit outweighs the potential conflict.

Duplicate Publication, Plagiarism, Self-Plagiarism, Fabrication, Falsification 

Authors' works should be original, and no part should have been published elsewhere (except, e.g., in brief abstracts or in grant applications), unless the authors state in their submission that parts of the submission (including the data) were previously published (as might be the case in review articles, meta analyses, book chapters, textbooks, etc.). Taking material from another author's work and submitting it as one's own is considered plagiarism and is subject to UAB's Policy Concerning the Responsible Conduct of Research and Other Scholarly Activities.
Taking material (e.g., tables, figures and data) from the author's own prior publications may be considered duplicate publication or self-plagiarism, unless the duplication is clearly disclosed to the editor and the reader. In theses and dissertations, students sometimes include their original publication(s) in whole or in part. This practice is acceptable under this policy, as long as the author discloses the prior publication(s).
Fabricating, falsifying (including the altering of figures in such a way as to obscure, move, remove, or introduce information or features), and suppressing data to agree with one's conclusions are unacceptable practices. Such practices are considered misconduct and are subject to UAB's Policy Concerning the Responsible Conduct of Research and Other Scholarly Activities.


Experiments Involving Animals or Humans
Authors reporting data involving humans or animals must have had approval for the research from the UAB IACUC and/or IRB prior to the conduct of those experiments. If the work was conducted entirely at another institution, prior approval of that institution's regulatory oversight board(s) is similarly required.

In situations in which a dispute over the content or authorship of a publication occurs, and when the dispute cannot be resolved by the authors, the mediation of the Division Director, Department Chair, Dean, or Provost should be requested. Disputants should always request assistance first from the most direct supervisor unless that individual is perceived to have a conflict of interest in the dispute (e.g., the individual is also an author of the publication).

Authors occasionally receive inquiries from an editor, grants officer, or other party that relate to the validity of their published works (or grant applications and reports) or those being considered for publication. The University has resources to aid authors in appropriately responding to such queries if they potentially involve allegations of scientific misconduct (i.e., falsification or fabrication of data or plagiarism). If an author receives such an inquiry or possible allegation, the author should contact the Office of the Vice President for Research and/or report the allegation to their immediate supervisor. However, disputes over the content or authorship of a publication do not, in and of themselves, constitute research misconduct and are not adjudicated using the procedures for research misconduct outlined in the Policy Concerning Responsible Conduct of Research and Other Scholarly Activities.

Authorship Affiliation for External Activities

In accordance with the UAB Enterprise Conflict of Interest Conflict of Commitment Policy, UAB employees request advance approval of external activities with external entities as an independent contractor, advisor, employee, consultant, or other work-for-hire for direct compensation. If an individual authors or co-authors publications or reports emanating from such external activities, as a matter of transparency, their university affiliation should be disclosed. However, they must make clear to the journal and reader that the work was performed and the publication or report was produced in their capacity with the external entity. In accordance with the UAB Faculty Handbook, when participating in such activities, the individual should not allow the name of the University of Alabama at Birmingham to appear in any such manner as to indicate that UAB is participating in, or in any way is sponsoring, the activity or the project. Furthermore, any university support (e.g., staff support, etc.) provided to the individual while working in their capacity with the external entity must adhere to the Use of UAB Resources by External Entities policy.

Disciplinary Action

Confirmed violations of this policy will result in appropriate consequences commensurate with the offense, up to and including termination of employment, appointment, or other relationships with UAB ENTERPRISE.


The Provost is responsible for procedures to implement this policy.

Related Policies
UAB Enterprise Code of Conduct
UAB Enterprise Conflict of Interest Conflict of Commitment
Policy Concerning the Responsible Conduct of Research and Other Scholarly Activities

Related Resources
International Committee of Medical Journal Editors
International Congress on Peer Review and Biomedical Publication
The Committee on Publication Ethics
UAB Ethics for Authors
Statement on Article Publication Resulting from NIH-Funded Research