The Ethics of Authorship

What does authorship mean in scientific publication? Too often it doesn’t have the meaning assigned to it by most dictionaries: the state or act of writing, creating, or causing (Merriam-Webster). It seems that anyone who has had the most cursory involvement, at any stage of development, ends up as an author on some papers. ICJME has clear guidelines for authorship that biomedical journals follow and writers should as well. But it’s not just about guidelines – it’s about honesty and responsibility. It’s about ethical scholarship. When your name is on that article, you are attesting to having contributed to it in a significant and meaningful way. The thoughts and arguments and knowledge, they are yours, whether as an individual or as part of a team. Take a look at the September American Journal of Nursing (AJN) editorial on the ethics of authorship written by Shawn Kennedy, MA, RN, Editor-in-Chief, Jane Barnsteiner, PhD, RN, FAAN, Editor, Translational Research and Quality Improvement and me. You can find it here.

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