Authorship Guidelines

LSU is committed to the highest standard of integrity in all areas of research and intellectual inquiry, including those related to the publication and presentation of scholarly and creative works. This commitment to ethical conduct is critical to research and academic progress, to maintaining public trust, and for the public to benefit from academic pursuits.

In every discipline, publication and presentation are essential to professional development and career advancement, and authorship is often a significant means by which to acknowledge the efforts and contributions of collaborators. At the same time, the benefits of authorship are accompanied by a number of responsibilities for the proper planning, execution, analysis, and reporting of research and the content and conclusions of other scholarly works.

LSU PS-27 establishes the standards and procedures that should be followed to determine appropriate attributions of authorship for the purposes of research, scholarship and creative works. It also provides a mechanism by which disputes over authorship credit can be resolved.


General Principles

While the specific rules guiding the assignment of authorship credit vary from discipline to discipline, the Policy provides some generalized principles which can help faculty make appropriate and ethical decision about authorship. From this broad perspective, authorship should be limited to those individuals who have made meaningful and substantial intellectual contributions to a scholarly work or project. A three-fold set of criteria can help identify those who meet the "meaningful and substantial" test.

Those who:

  1. provide substantive intellectual contributions to the conception or design of the work, or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of information or data; AND
  2. participate in drafting and/or revising the work for scholarly content; AND
  3. approve the final version of the work to be published or presented

should be designated as authors, and all listed authors should meet the above criteria.

Regardless of authorship, there must also be appropriate acknolwedgement of the work, ideas, and words of others that are used in any publication or presentation.


Recommended Practice

In order to prevent disputes from happening in the first place, it is highly recommended that authorship assignment policies among collaborators should be agreed to prior to the commencement of research. Having such agreements in hand in advance assures all of those involved with the research that their contributions will be acknowledged appropriately.

Guidance for Researchers

The American Psychological Association provides an "Authorship Determination Scorecard" to help researchers in developing such authorship plans. The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) provides resources and guidance to help scholars, researchers and administrators with ethical practices in authorship.

Publisher Guidelines

Publishers, academies, and ethics centers also publish guidelines for researchers to help them address authorship issues before they become problems.