Science and Engineering Ethics 26 (6):3393-3413 (2020)

Lisa Marie Rasmussen
University of North Carolina, Charlotte
Intellectual contribution in the form of authorship is a fundamental component of the academic career. While research has addressed questionable and harmful authorship practices, there has largely been no discussion of how U.S. academic institutions interpret and potentially mitigate such practices through the use of institution-level authorship policies. To gain a better understanding of the role of U.S. academic institutions in authorship practices, we conducted a systematic review of publicly available authorship policies for U.S. doctoral institutions, focusing on components such as specification of authorship criteria, recommendations for discussing authorship, dispute resolution processes, and guidance for faculty-student collaborations. We found that only 24% of the 266 Carnegie R1 and R2 Universities had publicly available authorship policies. Within these policies, the majority specified criteria for authorship, but provided less guidance about actual processes for applying such criteria, handling authorship disputes, and managing faculty-student author teams. Further, we found that any discussion of dispute resolution practices typically lacked specificity. Recommendations grounded in these findings are offered for institutions to leverage their ability to guide the authorship process by adopting an authorship policy that acknowledges disciplinary diversity while still offering substantive guidance.
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DOI 10.1007/s11948-020-00273-7
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