Authorship Policy


DATE OF APPROVAL: 20 November 1998

AMENDMENTS: Deputy Vice Chancellor and Vice President: Research and Innovation (3 March 2009); Academic Board (22 November 2013)

REFERENCE AUTHORITY: Deputy Vice Chancellor and Vice President (Research & Enterprise)

Responsible Practice in Research (RES 1.1)
Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (NHMRC, ARC and Universities Australia, 2007) (PDF 508kb)
Managing Research Misconduct Procedure (PDF 117kb)


The University of South Australia complies with Part A of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research 2007 (The Code). The Code outlines criteria for authorship with which UniSA researchers are required to comply.


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 take responsibility for at least that part of the work they contributed.


Criteria for authorship

Academic conventions around attribution of authorship depend to some extent on the discipline, but in all cases, authorship must 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.

A person who qualifies as an author must not be included or excluded as an author without their express permission. This should be in writing, and include a brief description of their contribution to the work.

Sometimes the editor of a significant collective work or anthology has responsibilities analogous to those listed above for authorship and, in such cases, similar criteria apply to 'editor' as to 'author'. However, the term 'editor' should be applied only to a person who has played a significant role in the intellectual shaping of a publication.

Responsibilities of the senior or executive author

For each publication, a senior or executive author who accepts overall responsibility for the publication must be identified.

The senior or executive author must ensure that:

  • all included authors meet the criteria for authorship, and are prepared to take responsibility for their contribution
  • no individual who meets the criteria for authorship is excluded as an author without their express permission, in writing
  • all authors have witnessed the version of the paper submitted for publication, and have provided their consent to the publication in writing
  • written evidence of an author’s consent to the publication (e.g. email correspondence) is retained in the University, and can be provided on request.

Dispute resolution

The procedure for dispute resolution is outlined in section 6 Framework to Address Concerns, Formal Complaints and Allegations of the Managing Research Misconduct Procedure (PDF 117kb).