Policy Directory

Authorship Policy

Date first approved:

18 April 2008

Date of effect:

18 April 2008

Date last amended:
(refer to Version Control Table)

Date of Next Review:

February 2018

First Approved by:

University Council

Custodian title & e-mail address:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation)


Director, Research Services Office

Responsible Division & Unit:

Research Services Office, Research and Innovation Division (RaID)

Supporting documents, procedures & forms:

Code or Practice – Research

Conflict of Interest Policy

Records Management Policy

Research Data Management Policy

Research Misconduct Policy

Relevant Legislation &

External Documents:

Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2007)


Public – accessible to anyone


1 Purpose of Policy

      1. This Policy sets out guidelines and principles for determining authorship of publications emerging from work conducted at the University of Wollongong (UOW). UOW aims to ensure that staff members and students who participate in research and other academic activities are equitably acknowledged and that their contributions are fairly represented.

      2. This Policy is fully consistent with the 2007 joint National Health and Medical Research Council/Universities Australia Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.

2 Background

    • 1. Research and other academic outcomes are often distributed via publications, such as journal articles, books and reports. To be an author of such material is an important measure of an individual’s involvement in research and scholarship. It is therefore important that all authors are correctly identified in a publication and that they agree to their authorship status. This is to ensure that both the responsibility for the publication and the prestige of the publication are accorded correctly.

3 Definitions

    • 2. In this Policy, the following definitions are used. References to the singular include the plural and references to the plural include the singular.


Definition (with examples if required)

Adjunct Professor

A Professor working at UOW without having full or permanent employment status.

Adviser in Research Integrity

A person holding the position of Adviser in Research Integrity by virtue of Part 8.4 of this Policy and/or a person appointed by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation), with the role to advise a person who is unsure about a research misconduct issue, or is considering whether to make an allegation, about the options available to them as detailed in the Research Misconduct Policy.


A person who has contributed to authorship and is thereby entitled to have a publication attributed to them. A single publication may be attributed to more than one author.


The intellectual participation in conceiving, executing or interpreting at least part of a research, scholarly or other academic output in the author's field of expertise, sufficient for the author to take public responsibility for that output.

Corresponding Author

The author responsible for managing the process of recording authorship and communication with publishers.


In the context of this policy, a person holding an honorary or visiting fellow appointment at UOW to a non-salaried position who is not a visiting student or volunteer.


The outcome of research, scholarship or academic output that is recorded in a material form, such as a journal article, book or report. A publication may appear in electronic form (eg. an electronic journal article).

Staff member

A person appointed to the academic or professional services staff of UOW.


A person:

(i) who has been accepted for admission to or enrolled in any course or program offered at, or in conjunction with, UOW or UOW College; and

(ii) whose body of work, completed while so enrolled (eg. a research thesis), is still under examination.


University of Wollongong

Visiting student

A student who undertakes part of their research or training at UOW but is not enrolled in a degree course with UOW (eg. a research practicum student whose home institution (institution at which the student has primary enrolment) is not UOW.


A person who is not a Fellow, visiting student, staff member or student, but who is working on a UOW project in a voluntary capacity. An example is someone who is undertaking unpaid work experience at UOW or is doing an internship at UOW. For the avoidance of doubt, a collaborating colleague from another university or research institution is not a volunteer.

4 Application and Scope

    • 1. This Policy applies to all UOW staff members and students.

      2. This Policy is also recommended for use by Fellows, visiting students and volunteers, as well as any other persons involved in joint publications with UOW staff members and/or students.

5 What Constitutes the Right to Authorship?

    • 1. UOW fully endorses the joint National Health and Medical Research Council/Universities Australia definition of the right to authorship as quoted below from the 2007 Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research:

        “The outcomes of research may be disseminated in a variety of ways but enduring forms, such as journal articles, are particularly important and to be an author for such a form is meritorious. To be named as an author, a researcher must have made a substantial scholarly contribution to the work and be able to take responsibility for at least that part of the work they contributed.

        Attribution of authorship depends to some extent on the discipline, but in all cases, authorship should be based on substantial contributions in a combination of:

        conception and design of the project

        analysis and interpretation of research data

        drafting significant parts of the work or

        critically revising it so as to contribute to the interpretation

        The right to authorship is not tied to position or profession and does not depend on whether the contribution was paid for or voluntary. It is not enough to have provided materials or routine technical support, or to have made the measurements on which the publication is based. Substantial intellectual involvement is required.”

      2. In interpreting this Policy, the right to authorship is to be interpreted in accordance with the 2007 joint National Health and Medical Research Council/Universities Australia Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research as quoted above.

6 Authorship Responsibilities of Researchers and Scholars

Affiliation with UOW

    • 1. All research undertaken at UOW in any capacity, when written up and/or published, must include in their affiliation the “University of Wollongong” and the name of the relevant academic unit or research group.

Agreement on Authorship

      2. Collaborating researchers or scholars should discuss authorship at an early stage in the project and review their decisions at appropriate times before final submission (for example, if relative or anticipated contributions change with time). Records should be kept detailing such ongoing agreements.

      3. Where there is a group of authors, one author should be appointed the Corresponding Author, to manage communication with the publisher and maintain a record of agreed authorship, authorship order and agreements regarding acknowledgement (including the steps set out in Section 7 below).

      4. The appointed Corresponding Author shall be responsible for all ongoing communication regarding the publication, including, but not limited to, enquiries from internal or external parties for access to additional information such as the original data used to determine the published results. The granting of any such access must be managed in line with the Data Management Policy and associated Guidelines.

Include all Authors

      5. All people who meet the criteria for authorship should be included as authors of a publication. This may include but is not limited to academics, adjunct professors, postgraduate students, research trainees and volunteers.

      6. All people offered authorship must accept or decline in writing. A publisher’s signatory document will satisfy this requirement if all authors are required to acknowledge their acceptance of authorship and the order of authors.

      7. Alternatively, an email or fax is a sufficient record where it is not practical to obtain an original signature.

      8. If an author is deceased or cannot be contacted (based on all reasonable efforts to do so), the publication can proceed provided that all other authors have no grounds to believe that this person would have objected to being included as an author.

Authorship Order

    • 9. UOW recognises that authorship order varies across disciplines and publishers, however unless other conventions or conditions apply, a UOW Higher Degree Research (HDR) student should normally be the first author on work arising from his/her thesis.

Do Not Include Unacceptable Authors

      10. Individuals who do not meet the requirements to assert the right to authorship should not be included as authors. Examples include:

      10.1. being included by virtue of position (such as Dean) or association with the author rather than by virtue of intellectual input into the work;

      10.2. providing routine assistance or technical support, in the absence of intellectual input to the project; or

      10.3. providing previously published materials or data to include in the publication, in the absence of intellectual input into the specific project.

      10.4. providing resources, even if the non-provision would have made the research difficult or impossible to pursue or complete.

Fair Acknowledgement

      11. When appropriate, other non-authorship assistance should be identified via an acknowledgement rather than an offer of authorship. This might include, but is not limited to, and transcription and translation services.

      12. Where individuals are acknowledged, the Corresponding Author should obtain their written consent. Written consent can be provided by email or fax and should be kept in a record held by the Corresponding Author.

      13. Before acknowledging funding providers, such as companies supporting research via commercial research, it is important to first determine whether confidentiality provisions or publication restrictions (that may involve processes for approving publications) apply under the relevant funding contract, and to ensure that these are adhered to. Authors must declare to editors and readers any potential or perceived conflicts of interest arising from commercial support or sponsorship of research as set out in the UOW’s Conflict of Interest Policy.

Authorship Involving Current and Past Students

      14. Current and past students who meet the criteria for authorship must be offered authorship and must indicate their acceptance or refusal in writing. An email or fax is a sufficient record where it is not practical to obtain an original signature. The provisions of Part 6.6 Section 6.8 apply in the event a student is deceased or cannot be contacted despite all reasonable efforts to do so.

      15. A student's supervisor should only be included as an author when he/she meets the criteria for authorship. When a supervisor expects to be included as an author in a publication arising from a student's thesis, the supervisor must discuss with the student their expectation in relation to authorship of that publication prior to the award of the degree.

      16. If the student does not submit a manuscript for publication in a reasonable period of time [being generally within six months of a) the date of completion of the project or b) the date that the student ceased working on the project], subject to this Policy and specifically Part Section 5 of this Policy, the supervisor may prepare a manuscript for publication. In such cases, the supervisor may include themselves, the student and any other person warranting attribution as an author, provided that the consent of the student and all other authors is obtained. In such cases, it may be appropriate for the supervisor to be named as first author.

Web-Based Content

      17. Authors of web-based content must be clearly identified in the publication.

7 Managing Authorship

    • 1. Where a publication has several authors, the Corresponding Author has responsibility for recording authorship and managing communications about the publication with the authors as well as other interested internal and external parties.

      2. The corresponding author must ensure that all authors acknowledge their authorship in writing. The written record must be scanned and uploaded to the UOW Research Information System (RIS). It is suggested that authors use the UOW Authorship Acknowledgement Form (Attachment 1) for this purpose, however other forms of evidence are also acceptable

      3. When the Corresponding Author is not a UOW staff member or student, the employer of the Corresponding Author may have an alternate process for recording authorship, which the UOW staff and/or students could apply.

      4. The principles in this Policy relating to determining authorship apply to all UOW staff members and students regardless of who is the Corresponding Author. UOW staff members and students must retain proper records of discussions and decisions on authorship in accordance with the UOW Records Management Policy.

8 Authorship Disputes

    • 1. Authors involved in disputes over authorship (including inclusion/removal and order disputes) should seek to resolve the dispute by discussion amongst the persons involved as a first resort.

      2. If a dispute cannot be resolved in this way, an Adviser in Research Integrity who is independent of the dispute should be consulted (preferably by the Corresponding Author but if this does not occur or is not appropriate, by any other author involved in the dispute). The Adviser in Research Integrity will seek to assist in resolving the issue and provide advice regarding interpretation of this Policy and/or the Research Misconduct Policy.

      3. If the Adviser in Research Integrity is unable to resolve the dispute and the publication proceeds without resolution, parties to the dispute may make a formal allegation of research misconduct, which would be dealt with under UOW’s Research Misconduct Policy.

      4. Heads of School, Directors of Research Strengths, Chairs of Ethics Committees and the Dean of Research are Advisers in Research Integrity. Other people or positions may also be appointed by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Innovation) as Advisers in Research Integrity from time to time.

9 Roles & Responsibilities

    • 1. UOW has the responsibility to:

      a. maintain and promote this Policy and the joint National Health and Medical Research Council/Universities Australia Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research; and

      b. assist with the resolution of disputes about authorship.

      2. UOW staff members and students have a responsibility to:

      a. comply with this Policy; and

      b. assist with the resolution of disputes about authorship in which they are involved.

      3. UOW Fellows, visiting students and volunteers have a responsibility to:

      a. comply with this Policy wherever UOW’s acceptance of them as a UOW Fellow, visiting student or volunteer requires that they comply with UOW policies;

      b. comply with this Policy whenever they jointly publish with a UOW staff member or student and the policies of their own host institution or employer do not directly contradict this Policy; and

      c. assist with the resolution of disputes about authorship in which they are involved.

10 Authorship Acknowledgment Form


11 Version Control and Change History

Version Control

Date Effective

Approved By



10 October 1997

University Council

New Policy


15 September 2004

Academic Senate

Minor revisions to some definitions


18 April 2008

University Council

Major revisions in line with the 2007 joint National Health and Medical Research Council/Universities Australia Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.

Formatted into the Standard Policy Template.


6 May 2009

Vice Principal (Administration)

Migrated to UOW Policy Template as per Policy Directory Refresh


4 February 2010

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)

Review by Director of Commercial Research.

No changes required and new review date set.


18 August 2010


Policy Custodian position title and email address changed to reflect new role.


20 April 2011

University Council

Minor revisions to clarify content regarding standardisation of addresses and affiliation to UOW of authors of papers.


21 June 2011

Vice-Principal (Administration)

Updated to reflect change of name from Wollongong College Australia to UOW College.


20 February 2017


Amendments to the links to current Legislation and other information to bring in line with other UOW policy.

Here to Help

Need a hand? Contact the Governance Unit for advice and assistance on policy issues.