UCSF home page UCSF home page About UCSF Search UCSF UCSF Medical Center
UCSF navigation bar
1. Introduction  
2. Setting up Office and Research Space
2.1 What should I do before I get to UCSF?
2.2 What should I do once I arrive at UCSF?
2.3 What Research Support Services are available?
3. Obtaining Regulatory Committee Approvals
3.1 Making Sense of Regulations
3.2 What is Research Online
3.3 Working with Biologicals
3.4 Working with Chemicals
3.5 Working with Radioactive Materials
3.6 Working with Radioactive Materials in Humans
3.7 Working with Controlled Substances
3.8 Working with Animals
3.9 Involving Human Subjects in Research
3.10 Serving on Committees
3.11 Working with Affiliates
4. Finding, Obtaining, and Managing Money
4.1 Fiscal Responsibility
4.2 Pre-award: How do I find and ask for funds?
4.3 Post-award: How do I manage funding awards?
4.4 Working with Industry
4.5 Minimizing Financial Conflicts of Interest
4.6 Intellectual Property
5. Being Responsible
5.1 Ethical Conduct of Research
5.2 Authorship and Publication
5.3 Confidentiality and Privacy
5.4 Data Management: Research Records
5.5 Training in Responsible Conduct of Research
5.6 Guidelines for Lab Notebooks
6. Leaving or Transferring Funds/Specimens Out of UCSF
I. UCSF Acronyms
II. UCSF Research Links
III. Whistleblower Policies & Procedures
School of Medicine Clinical and Translational Research



5. Being Responsible

5.2 Authorship and Publication

•  What is expected of me as an author?
•  What responsibilities are associated with authorship?
•  What should I discuss with my co-authors and collaborators?
•  Relevant references and other resources

What is expected of me as an author?

The UCSF Faculty Handbook for Success states “authorship must reflect substantial scientific involvement in the research being reported.” However, individual Departments may have more specific requirements; for example, the UCSF Department of Neurological Surgery has its own Guidelines on Research Data and Reports, which specify that each author should:

  •  Make substantial contributions important to the study,
  •  Participate critically in the development of the intellectual content of the report of the study, and
  •  Read and approve the final version of the manuscript

Authorship conventions vary widely within fields of research and that biomedical journals may have different requirements. Some may ask you to document in a letter signed by all of the named authors that each author agrees to their authorship and has approved the final version of the manuscript.

The Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals, which are widely endorsed by the biomedical journals to which most USCF investigators submit their papers, are a useful reference on this topic.

What responsibilities are associated with authorship?

According to federal guidelines from the National Institutes of Health and the Office of Research Integrity, as well as the accepted standard practices of professional scientific and journal editor societies, authorship carries with it public responsibility for the integrity of the work as a whole and implies that each author has certified that they have:

  •  Read the version of the manuscript being submitted to the journal,
  •  Approved that version for publication, and
  •  Agreed to take public responsibility for its content—if necessary, in a court of law.

Check with your Department or School to determine if they require authors to sign an Author’s Agreement, which is sent to the journal together with the manuscript, or if they have other policies governing publication and authorship.

What should I discuss with my co-authors and collaborators?

As early as possible in the experimental design stage, even before the first data are collected, you should discuss authorship with your collaborators and coauthors. Important authorship issues that should be addressed include:

•  Who will be named as an author or acknowledged as a contributor if the study will be submitted for publication?
•  What will be the order of authorship?
•  What are the responsibilities and expectations for each contributor to the study?
•  Will data be presented at scientific meetings prior to manuscript submission?
•  Are there any intellectual property or confidentiality issues that may affect publication?
  •  Who meets the legal standard for inventor? Unlike authorship, inventorship is a mater of law and is determined according to certain legal standards. Never make promises to collaborators concerning who will qualify as the inventor. Rather, rely on the legal inventorship determination performed by patent counsel.
  Has the Office of Technology Management been notified that the research may have commercial value, whether patentable or not? Make this disclosure as soon as the invention is in hand, i.e. well in advance of any public disclosure (even before abstracts or manuscripts are prepared).

Relevant references and other resources

•  Advancement and Promotion at UCSF, A Faculty Handbook for Success.
•  Guidelines on Research Data and Reports (UCSF Dept. Neurosurgery)
Professional Associations:
•  Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals.
•  World Association of Medical Editors (WAME): links for Publication Ethics
  Office of Research Integrity (ORI): Polices and Regulations
  A Guide to Ethical Writing

NIH Bioethics Resources on the Web