QSU Policy for Authorship and Publication

QSU members involved in scientific initiatives should be recognized for their scientific and intellectual contributions through authorship on manuscripts that describe the research findings. As the QSU is not a fee-for-service consulting center, but rather a collaborative group, we take our contributions seriously and only collaborate with those who respect our policy. Importantly, we adhere to the authorship criteria established by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE)1

According to current ICMJE recommendations, authorship should be “based on the following 4 criteria:

Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; AND

Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; AND

Final approval of the version to be published; AND

Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.”

For example, QSU members do not expect to be included as co-authors when only providing limited high level advice or guidance, where no analyses have been conducted and where that member was not involved in providing principal interpretation of findings. 

QSU members involved in designing a study, drafting or critically revising the manuscript, even when no data have been analyzed should be included as co-authors. Once analyses have been conducted by a QSU member, there is an ethical obligation to include all the names of individuals who can vouch for the integrity of the data and the findings. This includes individuals critically involved in any or all of the following analysis activities: designing, overseeing, implementing, and interpreting. Importantly, once QSU members are involved in data analysis, they should be involved in the interpretation of those findings and actively incorporated into the writing and/or editing of the manuscript to ensure appropriate interpretation.

The effort on projects varies where some projects include multiple QSU members. Those members involved in the study design or analysis activities must be included on the manuscript to accurately reflect each member's individual contribution to the study. As many of our projects involve multiple QSU members, this will often mean that multiple QSU members are represented on a project, just as multiple clinical/translational investigators from the same specialty will be included if each has individual contributions.

For any questions regarding our publication and authorship policy, please contact Dr. Manisha Desai manishad@stanford.edu


1International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. Recommendations for the conduct, reporting, editing, and publication of scholarly work in medical journals. http://www.icmje.org. Updated December 2016.


***QSU members do not typically participate in appearing in acknowledgement sections. In cases where they fulfill ICMJE criteria they should be listed as co-author, and in cases where they do not, they do not need to be mentioned, because the meaning behind acknowledgement is not clear.