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American Chemical Society Publication Guidelines

Guidelines for authors submitting to journals published by the American Chemical Society.

American Physical Society – Guidelines on Responsibilities of Coauthors and Collaborators

A short section of APS Guidelines for Professional Conduct focusing on responsibilities of coauthors.

Council of Science Editors – Editorial Policy Statements

Guidelines adopted by the Council of Science Editors discussing the responsibilities of journal editors to their authors, peer reviewers, and readers.

Guidelines: Responsible Conduct Regarding Scientific Communication

Developed in 1995 by the Society for Neuroscience, these guidelines cover writing, reviewing, and editing peer-reviewed manuscripts; submission of abstracts to scientific meetings; and presentations to the lay public.

International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (1997): Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals. JAMA 277:927-34

These guidelines, developed by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, have become the standard for deciding who merits being a co-author, disclosure of conflicts of interest, and how to resolve other ethical issues that arise in the publication of scientific research.

Managing Allegations of Scientific Misconduct: A Guidance Document for Editors

Put out by the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (January 2000) this essay outlines the responsibilities of editors when authors who submitted manuscripts or published in their journals face allegations of scientific misconduct.

Nature Ethics Policies for Authors

A collection of policies on conflict of interest, authorship, and the use and integrity of images for manuscripts submitted to the journal Nature.

Office of Research Integrity, Working definition of plagiarism.

The definition of what constitutes plagiarism as adopted by the U.S. Office of Research Integrity.

Online Learning Tools for Research Integrity and Processing Images

This site explains what is appropriate in image processing in science and what is not. It also shows how best practices in handling images intersects with other best practices. Includes video case studies, guidelines, as well as a series of case studies.

Science Magazine : Information for Authors

Guidelines for authors submitting manuscripts for publication to Science Magazine.


Bailar, John. 1990. Ethics and policy in scientific publication. Bethesda, MD: Council of Biology Editors.

This book reports on a survey done by the Council of Biology Editors to "identify, clarify, and assess the prevalence and seriousness of a variety of ethical problems that editors face in scientific publishing. Members of the Council were asked to discuss fourteen scenarios describing unethical practices by authors, and asked the editors how they would deal with these issues. The book discusses the ethical issues inherent in each scenario, and gives recommendations for how editors can go about handling these situations.

Jones, Anne Hudson and F. McLellan. 2000. Ethical issues in biomedical publication. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

After tracing the history of biomedical publication and setting its importance in the larger context of the responsible conduct of research, the author explains the current standards that have been developed by journal editors and discusses main issues such as authorship, peer review, repetitive publication, conflict of interest, and electronic publishing.

LaFollette, M.C. 1996. Stealing into print: fraud, plagiarism, and misconduct in scientific publishing. Berkeley: University of California Press.

The author looks at some of the ethical issues inherent in scientific publishing practices, how changes such as the proliferation of paper with multiple authors and electronic journals are putting new strains on the peer review system, and looks at ways in which the system might be changed to help reduce the level of plagiarism and misconduct in scientific publication.

Macrina FL, 2000. Chapter 4, Authorship and peer review. Scientific integrity: An introductory text with cases, 2nd ed: pp. 49-72. Washington D.C.: ASM Press.

In this chapter, Macrina highlights the key responsibilities for an author and a peer reviewer and provides case studies addressing ethical points, such as conflicts of interest, plagiarism, and authorship roles.

Shamoo AE, Resnik David. B, 2003. Chapter 4, Publication and peer review. The responsible conduct of research, pp. 68-92. New York: Oxford University Press.

In this chapter, the authors offer a history of scientific publication and describe the potential problems that can arise in publishing and peer review.

Journal Articles

Bird SJ, 1997. Authorship under review. Science and Engineering Ethics 3: 235-236.

Bouville, Mathieu. 2008. Plagiarism: Words and ideas. Science and Engineering Ethics. 14(3): 311-322.

Discusses the harms of plagiarism to readers, authors, and scientific integrity.

Caelleigh, A.S. Roles for scientific societies in promoting integrity in publication ethics. Science and Engineering Ethics 9: 221-241.

Couzin-Frankel, Jennifer and Jackie Grom. 2009. Plagiarism sleuths. Science 324(5930): 1004-1007.

Discusses a new computer program which is capable of detecting plagiarized scientific publications, and Déjà vu, an online database that lists potentially plagiarized material.

Farthing, M.A. 2006. Authors and publication practices. Science and Engineering Ethics. 12(1): 41-52.

Article discusses the need for authors, editors and reviews to disclose any conflicts of interests they may have.

Fine MA, Kurdek LA, 1993. Reflections on determining authorship credit and authorship order on faculty-student collaborations. American Psychologist, 48(11): 1141-1147.

Hauptman, Robert. 2008. Authorial ethics: how writers abuse their calling. Journal of Scholarly Publishing. 39(4): 323-353.

Kennedy D. 2003. Multiple authors, multiple problems. Science301: 733.

Editorial discussing ethical issues that come up when there are multiple authors working jointly on a publication.

Jones, Anne Hudson. 2003. Can authorship policies help prevent scientific misconduct? What role for scientific societies? Science and Engineering Ethics. 9(2): 243-256.

The purpose of this article is to encourage and help inform active discussion of authorship policies among members of scientific societies. The article explains the history and rationale of the influential criteria for authorship developed by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, examines questions about those criteria that emerge from authorship policies adopted by several U.S. medical schools, and summarizes the arguments for replacing authorship with the contributor-guarantor model.

Marusic, Matko, et al. 2004. Authorship in a small medical journal: A study of contributorship statements by corresponding authors. Science and Engineering Ethics 10(3): 493-502.


Using the authorship criteria of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, the authors of this study looked to see if poor adherence to these criteria is common in biomedical journals.

Parrish, Deba, and Bridget Noonan. 2009. Image manipulation as research misconduct. Science and Engineering Ethics. 15(2): 161-167.

Authors look at a number of cases handled by the U.S. Office of Research Integrity that involved image manipulations, the misconduct associated with this action, detection methods, and the sanctions opposed on authors found guilty of image manipulation in these cases.

Pearson, Helen. 2006. Credit where credit is due. Nature. 440(7084): 591-592.

Discusses ways to avoid disputes over authorship in sciences by spelling out authors’ contributions in a paper and to discuss authorship when a collaboration begins.

Rennie, Drummond; V. Yank and Linda Emanuel. 1997. When authorship fails: A proposal to make contributors accountable. Journal of the American Medical Association 278: 579-585.

A proposal for a policy change to make investigators less likely to seek or accept credit through the mechanism of undeserved authorship.

Resnik, David B. et. al. A proposal for a new system of credit allocation in science in “Forum on Authorship” Science and Engineering Ethics. 3(3): 237-266.

This essay discusses some of the problems with current authorship practices and puts forward a proposal for a new system of credit allocation: in published works, scientists should more clearly define the responsibilities and contributions of members of research teams and should distinguish between different roles, such as author, statistician, technician, grant writer, data collector, etc.

Ritter, S.K. 2001. Publication ethics: Rights and wrongs. Chemical and Engineering News 79(46): 24-31.

The author discusses some potential ethical issues raised in the area of authorship, guidelines that have been put in place by the American Chemical Society and the Office of Sponsored Research to help guide faculty and graduate students, and discusses some case studies where disputes about authorship arose.

Rose, Mary & Karla Fischer. 1995. Policies and perspectives on authorship. Science and Engineering Ethics 1(4): 361.

This paper discusses joint authorship involving faculty and students, and the power imbalances that complicate authorship and describes a study of how graduate students think about authorship and its relationship to stated policies about authorship.

Rossner, Mike and Kenneth M. Yamada. 2004. What’s in a picture? The temptation of image manipulation. Journal of Cell Biology. 166(1): 11-15.

Sheskin, Theodore. J. 2006. An analytic hierarchy process model to apportion co-authorship responsibility. Science and Engineering Ethics. 12(3): 555-565.

Article describes a process that can be used to determine the responsibilities of coauthors, with the objective to hold each one accountable for their individual contributions.

Sikes, Pat. 2009. Will the real author come forward: Questions of ethics, plagiarism, theft, and collusion in academic research writing. International Journal of Research & Method in Education. 32(1): 13-24.

Solomon, J. 2009. Programmers, professors, and parasites: Credit and co-authorship in computer science. Science and Engineering Ethics. 15(4): 467-489.

This article presents an in-depth analysis of past and present publishing practices in academic computer science to suggest the establishment of a more consistent publishing standard. The author compares publishing practices in computer science with other scientific fields, and concludes with a list of basic principles that should be adopted in any computer science publishing standard. He claims this would contribute to the reliability and scientific nature of academic publications in computer science.

Tarnow E. 1999. The authorship list in science: Junior physicists' perceptions of who appears and why. Science and Engineering Ethics 5: 73-88.

A questionnaire probing the distribution of authorship credit was given to postdoctoral associates ("postdocs") in order to determine their awareness of the professional society's ethical statement on authorship, the extent of communication with their supervisors about authorship criteria, and the appropriateness of authorship assignments on submitted papers. Results indicate a low awareness of the professional society's ethical statement and that little communication takes place between postdocs and supervisors about authorship criteria. A substantial amount of authorship credit given to supervisors and other workers is perceived by the postdocs to violate the professional society's ethical statement.

Tarnow E. 2002. Coauthorship in physics. Science and Engineering Ethics 8: 175-190.

Wagner, E. et al. 2009. Science editors’ views on publication ethics: Results of an international survey. Journal of Medical Ethics. 35(6): 348-353.

Results of a survey of science journal editors looking at the severity and frequency of sixteen different breaches of publication ethics that they see at their journals.

Peer Review

Armstrong, S.J.1997. Peer review for journals: Evidence on quality control, fairness, and innovation. Science and Engineering Ethics. 3(4): 63-84.

This paper reviews the published empirical evidence concerning journal peer review published since 1975. The author concludes that these studies show that peer review improves quality, but its use to screen papers has met with limited success. Current procedures to assure quality and fairness seem to discourage scientific advancement, especially important innovations, because findings that conflict with current beliefs are often judged to have defects. Editors can use procedures to encourage the publication of papers with innovative findings such as invited papers, early-acceptance procedures, author nominations of reviewers, structured rating sheets, open peer review, results-blind review, and in particular, electronic publication.

Atkinson M, 2001. “Peer review" culture. Science and Engineering Ethics. 8(1): 193-204.

The article looks at some of the factors contributing to the problem of the relatively high incidence of unsatisfactory review decisions in the peer review process.

Baldwin W, and B. Seto. 1997. Peer review: Selecting the best science. Science and Engineering Ethics. 3(1): 11-17.

The major challenge facing today's biomedical researchers is the increasing competition for available funds. The competitive review process, through which the National Institutes of Health (NIH) awards grants, is built upon review by a committee of expert scientists. The NIH is firmly committed to ensuring that its peer review system is fair and objective.

Cain J, 1999. Why Be My Colleague's Keeper? Moral Justifications for Peer Review. Science and Engineering Ethics, 5: 531-540.

Cain offers a justification for scientists to do peer review, and discusses how the motivation for being a peer reviewer can be based on self-interest or on benefits for the scientific community as a whole.

Callaham ML, Baxt WG, Waeckerle JF, Wears RL. 1998. Reliability of editors' subjective quality ratings of peer reviews of manuscripts. JAMA 280(3): 229-231.

Cicchetti, D.V. 1997. Referees, editors and publication practices: Improving the reliability and usefulness of the peer review process. Science and Engineering Ethics 3:51-62.

The article discusses problems inherent in the peer review process and looks at possible ways in which to improve its reliability.

Fletcher RH, Fletcher SW. 1997. Evidence for the effectiveness of peer review. Science and Engineering Ethics 3(1): 35-50.

The authors give a survey of the research into the effectiveness of peer review, including studies examining the blinding of reviewers to authors and the quality of the review process. They conclude that peer review needs further study or it might be abandoned.

Fox, Mary Frank. 1994. Scientific misconduct and editorial and peer review processes The Journal of Higher Education 65(3): 298-309. Special Issue: Perspectives on Research Misconduct.

This paper considers moral justifications for peer review. The author argues that a wider notion of "interest' permits the self-interest approach to justify not only submitting one's own work to peer review but also removing oneself momentarily from the production of primary knowledge to serve as a rigorous, independent, and honest referee.

Godlee F. 2002. Making reviewers visible: Openness, accountability and credit. JAMA 287(21): 2762-2765.

Kostoff, R.N. 1997. The principles and practices of peer review. Science and Engineering Ethics 3(1): 19-34.

This article describes some of the major principles and practices of peer review, focusing especially on the review of proposed and ongoing programs in federal agencies. The paper also describes a number of problems that often arise in the peer review process, and gives examples of these problems in proposed and existing programs in place in some federal agencies. The article also outlines some best practices in developing a successful peer review process.

Louis, Karen Seashore, Janet M. Holdsworth, Melissa S. Anderson, and Eric C. Campbell. 2008. Everyday ethics in research: Translating authorship guidelines into practice in the bench sciences. Journal of Higher Education 79(1): 88-112.

Peer-reviewed papers are the major currency in the realm of science. Without an appropriate number of publications in high-quality journals, scientists do not get university positions, are not promoted, and fail to get grants to fund their research. Decisions made about authorship are not always straightforward, as accepted practice sometimes conflicts with other ethical guidelines or "rules of thumb," such as fairness, reciprocity, and sponsorship. This article examines how and why "highly productive" life scientists in universities make these important decisions. The findings illuminate the idiosyncratic nature of authorship decisions, the important role that context plays in scientists' decision-making about authorship, and how authorship often is a commodity exchanged among scientists. Concluding comments focus on the significance of studying "everyday ethics" and their potential impact on disciplines and higher education institutions.

Resnick, David, Christina Gutierrez-Ford and Shyamal Peddada. 2008. Perceptions of ethical problems with scientific journal peer review: An exploratory study. Science and Engineering Ethics 14(3): 305-310.

This article reports the results of a survey of researchers at a government research institution looking at their perception of ethical issues that exist in regard to peer review. The largest number of researchers surveyed believed that incompetent review was the largest problem. Bias in the review system was the second largest problem seen. The authors recommend that other investigators follow up this research with this exploratory study on the ethics of peer review.

Rockwell, Sarah. 2005. Ethics of peer review: a guide for manuscript reviewers. Yale University, U.S. Office of Research Integrity.

An essay with accompanying case studies by Dr. Sarah Rockwell of Yale University. Essay gives an overview of some of the main ethical issues faced by peer reviewers.

Spier, R.E. 2002. Peer review and innovation. Science and Engineering Ethics. 8(1): 99-108.

Two important aspects of the relationship between peer review and innovation includes the acceptance of articles for publication in journals and the assessment of applications for grants for the funding of research work. The author argues that innovative papers are not stifled in the publication process by peer review, but that the situation differs in the area of grants. In the case of grants, refusal necessarily stops possible innovative research. The author suggests that funding organizations may wish to set aside some money for promising innovative projects, and that the peer review process may need to be modified in these cases.

Stamps, Arthur E. 1997. Using a dialectical scientific brief in peer review. Science and Engineering Ethics. 3(1): 85-98.

This paper presents a framework that editors, peer reviewers, and authors can use to identify and efficiently resolve disputes that arise during peer review in scientific journals. Called a scientific dialectical brief, this framework helps authors and reviewers format their differences into specific assertions, and provide support for these assertions. The types of support to be used include empirical data, reasoning, speculation, feelings and status. It is suggested that the scientific dialectical brief format can streamline the review process by facilitating rapid differentiation between stronger and weaker support, so that valuable time can be focused on the better-substantiated claims.

Washburn, Jason. 2008. Encouraging research collaboration through editorial and fair authorship: A model policy. Ethics & Behavior 18(1): 44-58.

Wilson J.R. 2002. Responsible authorship and peer review. Science and Engineering Ethics 8: 155-174.

In this article the basic principles of responsible authorship and peer review are surveyed, with special emphasis on (a) guidelines for refereeing archival journal articles and proposals; and (b) how these guidelines should be taken into account at all stages of writing.

Developed for the National Academy of Engineering's Online Ethics Center, 4/21/2010.