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Authorship, Contribution and Publishing Policy

1. Introduction and Scope

1.1 The University of Southampton (‘the University’) wishes to realise the best possible research it 
can. In this respect, the University values a research culture which promotes (i) integrity, (ii) 
honesty and transparency, and (iii) responsibility in one’s own work (see University of
Southampton Values, Code of Conduct for Research and Academic Integrity Regulations).

1.2 The University aims to (i) preserve the integrity of the scholarly record and (ii) ensure credit is 
given where it is due. To this end, the University encourages its staff and students to conduct 
proactive and recurring discussions relating to research integrity, especially about authorship 
and potential conflicts of interest. Any such discussions should be held as early as possible to 
ensure that authorship and acknowledgement decision making processes and responsibilities 
are clear and evaluated to prevent disputes.

1.3 The University seeks to foster an academic environment where all of its staff and students have 
a sufficiently clear understanding of rules and best practice in regard to authorship, research collaboration, publication and the scholarly record, to publish their work for a wider audience. 
This Authorship, Contribution and Publishing Policy (‘the Policy’) seeks to clarify roles and 
responsibilities of the University’s research contributors to ensure consistent and honest 
conduct in authorship decision-making, thus, engendering trust in scholarship.

1.4 This Policy is primarily focused on authored works that are publicly available, which include but 
are not limited to journal articles, conference proceedings, books, edited works, software, 
reports, posters, datasets, working papers, and monographs. An individual or a group of 
individuals producing research output types not explicitly covered by this Policy should review 
the Policy and relevant guidance to see how it might be applied.

1.5 This Policy applies to any contributor publishing and disseminating research outputs which 
includes but is not limited to University employees (e.g. researchers, technicians and software 
engineers), visiting researchers, and postgraduate research students.

2. Definitions

AffiliationThe location, usually an institution, where the author or authors were when the 
underpinning research was conducted. The purpose of this is to help identify
the author, to facilitate research assessment and to provide credit to the 
supporting institution.
AuthorIn this document, an author is an individual formally recognised for their
contribution to an output in its authorship.
AuthorshipFormal recognition reserved for those (authors), and only those, who have made 
a substantial intellectual contribution to the research (see section 5).
CoercionThe use of force or manipulation to influence another individual’s decision 
CollusionTwo or more individuals working in an unauthorised way.
An individual who takes primary responsibility for communication with the 
publisher’s representatives during the submission, peer-review, and publication 
processes. They typically complete the publishing.
A correction to the scholarly record issued by (the publisher on behalf of) the 
author(s), usually as a separate (but linked) output to the version of record, to 
correct a mistake made by a contributor.
Erratum (Errata)A correction to the scholarly record issued by the publisher, usually as a 
separate (but linked) output to the version of record to correct a mistake made 
by the publisher.
Where an author intentionally conceals their contribution by not appearing on 
the authorship.
Gift AuthorshipSynonyms include ‘guest’ and ‘honorary’ authorship. This is where an individual
is not an intellectual contributor but has been included on the authorship for
another reason.
Peer-reviewEvaluation or assessment of research outputs by others with appropriate 
expertise and working knowledge.
PlagiarismDeliberate use/copying of other people’s ideas, intellectual property, words, 
data or other work (written or otherwise), without acknowledgement or 
PublisherAn organisation or person that prepares research outputs for distribution and 
hosts content.
RedundancyIn a publishing context, redundancy refers to unnecessary and extensive 
reproduction of research/text which is not original to that output (i.e. recycling 
of prior publications).
RetractionA last resort correction to the scholarly record by removing the output from 
general circulation. Each retraction should be judged individually i.e. they are 
not necessarily linked to misconduct or poor-quality research.
Scholarly RecordBody of work in the public domain which is classed as academic literature, data 
or other media.
SoftwareResearch software is any software used to generate, process or analyse results 
that are intended to appear in a publication. It can be anything from a few lines 
of code written by an individual to a professionally developed software package 
(adopted from Hettricks, 2019).
Version of 
Record (VoR)
The final form of an article which is formally declared by the publisher. For
peer-reviewed journals, this is typically the final typeset, copy edited version of 
the accepted manuscript. When a VoR is published online first, it may later be 
added to an issue and re-paginated but changes to content and authorship are 
only made through corrections such as errata and corrigenda

The definitions and use of terms in this document should not affect their interpretation or use 

3. Responsibilities and Ownership

3.1 Research Integrity and Governance Committee (RIGC) has the responsibility for oversight of this 
Policy. Research Integrity Champions (RICs) might develop additional discipline specific 
guidance for their respective Faculties.

3.2 This Policy will be subject to periodic review by RIGC, to provide assurance to University Senate 
that its terms remain fit for purpose. The Policy will be reviewed at least every 5 years or as 
appropriate to respond to changes in national/international guidance or relevant legislation.

3.3 To support the implementation of this Policy, the Library and the Research and Innovation 
Services (RIS) are responsible for maintaining expert knowledge.

4. Institutional Warranties

4.1 The University recognises that there are discipline specific variations in publishing practices
and requirements for authorship and contributor status.

4.2 Wherever possible, the University will seek to preserve the integrity of the scholarly record. This 
includes maintaining access to publications in the Institutional Repository (, as well as the appropriate removal of content where a retraction has been deemed necessary (see section 7).

4.3 The University of Southampton supports the Technician Commitment and the Technicians and
Publications: Fair Attribution Guidance. 

4.4 The University’s Responsible Research Metrics Policy recognises that metrics and other 
measures of esteem can incentivise questionable authorship and publishing practices and 
discourages the gaming of metrics.

4.5 The University signed up to the AllTrials initiative which calls for all past and present clinical 
trials to be registered and their full methods and summary results reported. The University’s 
statement supporting the campaign can be found here.

5. Authorship And Contributor Best Practice

When is an individual an author?

5.1 An author is an individual who has made substantial contributions to the conceptual design or 
implementation of the project resulting in publication. Substantial contributions include, but 
are not limited to:

  • 5.1.1 conceptual or experimental design;
  • 5.1.2 product or software development;
  • 5.1.3 interpretation of results;
  • 5.1.4 proving results;
  • 5.1.5 contributing critically important intellectual content to drafts and revisions of a 
    manuscript or an underpinning dataset which was created specifically to support 
    the published study.

All authors should also meet the requirements set out in points 5.4 - 5.6. As noted above (4.1), 
it is recognised that authorship principles and standards vary between different disciplines and 

5.2 Contributors who have not made substantial contributions to the conceptual design or 
implementation are not authors and may be given an acknowledgement (section 6). 
Contributions that warrant an acknowledgement, but do not warrant authorship status alone 
include, but are not limited to:

  • 5.2.1 proof reading;
  • 5.2.2 technical and language editing;
  • 5.2.3 facilitating the peer-review process;
  • 5.2.4 administrative support for the underpinning project;

or, where no intellectual contribution is made (i.e. none of the criteria listed in point 5.1 are 
met) during the course of the following:

  • 5.2.5 data collection;
  • 5.2.6 data processing;
  • 5.2.7 fieldwork;
  • 5.2.8 performing experiments;
  • 5.2.9 paid consultation or services;
  • 5.2.10 funding the project or acquiring the funds;
  • 5.2.11 leading or being a member of the research group that conducted the work.

Please note that contributing to data acquisition, data processing, fieldwork, and performing 
experiments are positive contributions to any research output and they do warrant authorship
if there was an intellectual contribution (see points 5.1.1 – 5.1.4), i.e. if the work was not 
instruction-led. Furthermore, the authorship of a research article and its underpinning 
published dataset do not necessarily need to be the same. The criteria in section 5 should be 
applied to each individual research output resulting from a project.

For the avoidance of doubt, the phenomenon known as 'honorary', 'guest', or 'gift' authorship 
breaches the University's Authorship, Contribution and Publishing Policy (point 8.10).

The Casrai CRediT taxonomy is widely used to define contributions to research outputs. 
Authors should also familiarise themselves with any individual publisher/journal or funder 
policies on authorship and acknowledgements.

5.3 Versioning:

  • 5.3.1 Some published outputs are subject to versioning, for example, edited volumes 
    and software.
    • Where this is the case any original significant intellectual contributions as set
      out in points 5.1 – 5.2 should be acknowledged appropriately in each version 
      where the contribution is reproduced. If a subsequent version lacks any 
      contributions from a former author, that author may be removed from the 
      authorship with all authors’ agreement, but appropriate credit and citations 
      should be given where necessary.
    • Note, for software, the authorship status does not preclude ownership or 
      intellectual property related to that software.

5.4 An author must:

  • 5.4.1 be accountable for their own contributions;
  • 5.4.2 identify themselves as an author of a research output and be able to identify 
    their contributions;
  • 5.4.3 disclose all conflicts of interest. Also, see point 8.11.1. 
    For the avoidance of doubt, the phenomenon known as 'ghost authorship' breaches this Policy 
    (point 8.11).

5.5 It is noted that an author is expected to be able to defend a publication as a whole or in part 
where they are responsible for a specialised part of the research. All authors should be 
confident in the work of their co-authors where their own expertise is limited to their specialist 

5.6 All authors should have the opportunity to critically review the content prior to publication and 
approve the final version of a manuscript.

5.7 The corresponding author should ensure all those listed as authors of a publication are aware 
and agree to their inclusion on the authorship list. Failure to make a contributor aware of the 
intent to publish does not mean those making critical intellectual contributions (see point 5.1) 
can be omitted from the authorship.

5.8 Authors employed or enrolled at the University of Southampton should:

  • 5.8.1 use a persistent author identification number supplied by ORCiD where the 
    publisher allows it;
  • 5.8.2 identify themselves primarily using their institutional address. If the publisher 
    imposes space restrictions on the address, the author should use the term 'University of Southampton' and where appropriate, a second affiliation such as ‘University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust'. Where an author has moved institutions or has dual affiliation, the institution where the research was conducted and the institution where the author can be 
    identified at the time of publication should be credited as dual affiliations.

5.9 An individual should not identify as an author on massive authorship papers unless they meet 
the above criteria (points 5.1 and 5.4 – 5.6).

5.10 Pseudonymous and anonymous authors are out of scope of this Policy (i.e. no exception is 
required for point 5.4.2), however, it is advised that authors at the University follow the 
principles of this Policy. Pseudonymous and anonymous authorship should not be used to
avoid exposing conflicts of interest or other forms of publishing misconduct (see section 8)

6. Acknowledgements In Publications

6.1 An acknowledgement should be given with reference to the guidance in point 5.2. However, the 
University does not restrict the use of acknowledgements within reason.

6.2 It is best practice to notify those individuals who will be acknowledged in an output ahead of 
publication, as acknowledgements could be regarded as an endorsement of the published
work, and in some regimes, association with certain publications could put an individual at 
personal or reputational risk. As such, authors should be prepared to:

  • 6.2.1 rewrite acknowledgements within reason;
  • 6.2.2 remove an acknowledgement prior to publication.

6.3 An acknowledgement should be given to any funder that has supported the underpinning 
research. Authors are responsible for understanding and implementing their funder's individual 
requirements when preparing an output.

6.4 It is best practice to acknowledge facilities and instruments which were instrumental to the 
underpinning research, which gives credit where credit is due, demonstrates the effective 
application of funding, and improves the likelihood of the results being reproducible and 

7. Corrections to the Scholarly Record

7.1 Any formal corrections, which could mean corrigenda, errata, retractions or other forms of 
corrections to the published scholarly record need to be noted or corrected in the Institutional 

7.2 Authors are responsible for notifying the Library ( of any corrections to
the scholarly record within a reasonable time.

  • 7.2.1 The Library will adjust records in the Institutional Repository accordingly;
  • 7.2.2 The Library is not obliged to remove metadata or the original file(s) which have 
    been subject to a correction;
  • 7.2.3 Where records remain in the public domain, the Library will keep a transparent 
    record of any changes made to outputs in the Institutional Repository.

7.3 The University believes that it is a person’s right to self-identify. A name change may 
require discretion and sensitivity, especially where it is due to changes in gender identity 
(including non-binary), religion, or relationship status. Where the Library is notified by the 
author (point 7.2) of a name change made by a publisher without a formal correction (i.e. 
erratum or corrigendum), the record in the Institutional Repository will be amended to match
an author’s name on a publication without the need to meet the requirements set out in points
7.2.2 – 7.2.3. Likewise, if the Library is acting as the publisher, every reasonable effort will be 
made to amend the record with discretion and sensitivity.

7.4 Corrections to the scholarly record, including corrigenda, errata, and retractions, help to 
preserve its integrity and are commendable. The presence of a correction alone should not be 
used as an indicator of the quality of a published work.

7.5 In rare cases, a correction might be due to research misconduct which is out of scope of this 
Policy and will be managed according to the relevant governing policy.

7.6 The University will maintain relevant expertise to support authors affected by a correction, or 
who think a correction is required.

8. Publishing Ethics

The University of Southampton has the Procedure for Investigating Cases of Alleged Misconduct in
Research. Authors should be mindful of the following forms of publishing ethics misconduct:

8.1 Collusion.

  • 8.1.1 Conspiring with one or more co-authors, editors or referees to the detriment of 
    another author or the scholarly record.

8.2 Coercion or bribery.

  • 8.2.1 Forceful behaviours such as the use of threats or offering incentives to achieve a 
    particular outcome.

8.3 Fabrication, falsification or intentional misrepresentation of data.

  • 8.3.1 Data must be verifiable and represented equitably;
  • 8.3.2 This includes figure and image manipulation with the intent to misrepresent data.

8.4 The use of stolen/misappropriated data.

8.5 Plagiarism.

8.6 Self-plagiarism and redundancy.

  • 8.6.1 Presenting your own research and representing it as original to a later publication if it was previously published in the scholarly literature.
  • 8.6.2 Note that translations, annotated works, and reviews of previously published works that are explicitly published in those formats and appropriately acknowledge/cite the original work are not a form of redundancy.

8.7 Duplicate submission to journals.

8.8 Purposeful unnecessary editing of research projects to increase publications and citation
potential, commonly known as salami slicing.

8.9 Improper conduct in peer-review.

  • 8.9.1 This might include collusion, coercion, bribery, impersonating another individual, non-disclosure of competing interests and misleading the editor.

8.10 The phenomena known as ‘gift’, ‘guest’ or ‘honorary’ authorship.

  • 8.10.1 Gifting or receiving authorship status without meeting the criteria set out above (see points 5.1, 5.4 and 5.9), especially as a result of collusion (point 8.1), coercion or bribery (point 8.2).

8.11 Ghost authorship or the non-disclosure of competing interests.

  • 8.11.1 Not disclosing yourself as an author or being complicit with an individual not 
    disclosing themselves as an author due to competing interests (point 5.4.3).
  • 8.11.2 Note this does not restrict a contributor’s right to anonymity where they would 
    otherwise be acknowledged e.g. interviewee.

If you suspect any intentional breaches of publishing ethics you should contact the University’s 
Research Integrity and Governance (RIG) Team at

9. Further Guidance and Contacts

9.1 This Policy is supplemented by the Authorship, Contribution and Publishing Guidance

9.2 For further guidance on how this Policy should be interpreted and implemented please contact:

10. Further Information And Resources


Casrai CRediT taxonomy

COPE - Committee on Publication Ethics – Authorship and contributorship resources

Hettrick, S. 2019. Analysis of the Software Survey conducted at the University of Southampton 
in June 2019. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.3569549, as developed on GitHub. [Online]. [Accessed 01 
July 2020]. Available from:

ORCID Unique Researcher Identifier

11. Related University Policies and Regulations

Authorship, Contribution and Publishing Guidance

Code of Conduct for Research

DOI Guidance and DOI Policy

Joint Partnership Policy and Guidance on Pre-clinical and Clinical Research Publications

Open Access Policy

Procedure for Investigating Cases of Alleged Misconduct in Research

Research Data Management Policy

Technicians and Publications: Fair Attribution Guidance

Whistleblowing Policy


Date First Approved: June 2021

Authors: Library and Research Integrity and Governance (RIG) Team

Revision Date: June 2026

Authorised by: Research Integrity and Governance Committee (RIGC), University Executive Board (UEB) and University Senate