CORRESPONDING AND COLLABORATING/CO-AUTHORS
A co-author is any person who has made a significant contribution to a journal article. They also share responsibility and accountability for the results.
If more than one author writes an article, you’ll choose one person to be the corresponding author. This person will handle all correspondence about the article and sign the publishing agreement on behalf of all the authors. The corresponding author is responsible for ensuring that all the authors’ contact details are correct. You should all agree on the order in which your names will appear in the article. Please also ensure that your affiliations are correct, as explained below.
How common is co-authorship and what are the challenges do collaborating authors face?
If you are a named co-author, this means that you:
- Made a significant contribution to the work reported, whether that’s in the conception, study design, execution, acquisition of data, analysis and interpretation, or in all these areas.
- Have drafted or written, or substantially revised or critically reviewed the article.
- Have agreed on the journal to which the article will be submitted.
- Reviewed and agreed on all versions of the article before submission, during revision, the final version accepted for publication, and any significant changes introduced at the proofing stage.
- Agree to take responsibility and be accountable for the contents of the article and to share responsibility to resolve any questions raised about the accuracy or integrity of the published work.
Your affiliation in the manuscript should be the institution where you conducted the research. If you have changed affiliation since completing the research, your new affiliation can be acknowledged in a note. We can’t normally make changes to affiliation after the journal accepts your article.
- After the journal has accepted your article, if you need to change the co-authors for any reason you should write to the editor of the journal, with a clear reason for the change. This letter must come from all the authors, including the person you are adding or removing. The editor will need to agree to the change.
- If the corresponding author changes before the article is published (i.e., if a co-author becomes the corresponding author), please write to the editor of the journal and the production editor, confirming that both authors have agreed the change.
- Agree with your corresponding author and the order of co-authors, and check all affiliations and contact details before submitting.
Prior to submission, the authorship list and order must be agreed between all listed authors, and they must also agree on who will take on the role of corresponding author. It is the responsibility of the corresponding author to reach consensus with all co-authors regarding all aspects of the article including the authorship order and to ensure all correct affiliations have been listed.
The corresponding author is also responsible for liaising with co-authors regarding any editorial queries, and to act on behalf of all co-authors in any communication about the article through submission, peer review, production, and after publication. The corresponding author is also responsible for signing any publishing agreement on behalf of all the listed authors.
Changes in authorship
Any changes in authorship prior to or after publication must be agreed upon by all authors, including those being added or removed. It is the responsibility of the corresponding author to obtain confirmation from all co-authors and to provide evidence of this to the editorial office with a full explanation about why the change was necessary. If a change in authorship is necessary after publication of the article, this will be amended via a post-publication notice. Any changes in authorship must comply with our criteria for authorship.
Assistance from scientific, medical, technical writers or translators
Contributions made by professional scientific, medical or technical writers, translators or anyone who has assisted with the manuscript content must be acknowledged and their source of funding declared. They should be included in an ‘Acknowledgments’ section with an explanation of their role, or they should be included in the author list if appropriate.
Assistance with experiments and data analysis
If any parts of the work have been outsourced to professional laboratories or data analysts, this should be clearly stated within the manuscript with an explanation of their role, or they should be included in the author list if appropriate. Authors are responsible for retaining all of the original data related to their work, and should be prepared to share it with the journal editorial office if requested.
Any individuals who have contributed to the article (e.g. technical assistance, formatting-related writing assistance, translators, scholarly discussions which significantly contributed to developing the article, etc.), but who do not meet the criteria for authorship should be listed by name and affiliation in an ‘Acknowledgments’ section. It is the responsibility of the authors to notify and obtain permission from those they wish to identify in this section.