As we mentioned in the last newsletter, an author is someone who has made substantial intellectual contributions to a published study (www.icmje.org). What is a substantial contribution?
The term “substantial contribution” can be interpreted in many ways. The ICMJE guidelines have tried to clarify this by noting that substantial contributions are those that contribute to the “conception and design of the study, acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data”.
AMWA has defined substantial contribution as “an important intellectual contribution, without which the work or an important part of the work could not have been written and submitted for publication” (AMWA Essays for Biomedical Communicators, Volume 1; 79-91, 2001).
While these clarifications are helpful, I have devised a short cut to determine authorship–put a finger over the name of each author. Ask what piece of the manuscript depends on this name. Those deserving of authorship are those names for whom an answer is obtained.
Tip: Authors are those contributors without whom a major part of the publication would not exist.