Awareness of Authorship Criteria and Conflict: Survey in a Medical Institution in India

Upreet Dhaliwal, MS; Navjeevan Singh, MD; Arati Bhatia, MD


December 12, 2006

In This Article


Conflict in medical research, centered on funding and application of criteria for authorship, has generated much debate.[1,2,3,4,5] The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) document on Uniform Requirements provides guidelines that seek to address these and other issues arising out of publication of research results.[6] It specifies that authorship credit should be based on (1) substantial contributions to conception and design, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data; (2) drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content; and (3) final approval of the version to be published. Authors should meet all 3 conditions. The document further qualifies that acquisition of funding, collection of data, or general supervision of the research group, alone, does not justify authorship. All persons designated as authors should qualify for authorship, and all those who qualify should be listed. Each author should have participated sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for appropriate portions of the content.

The literature, however, has comparatively little to say on ownership of data and other reasons for conflict such as personal relationships, academic competition, and intellectual passion. These concepts find only passing reference in the ICMJE document. Unaddressed, these irritants could vitiate the research climate in an institution.

We explored: (a) awareness of authorship criteria in an academic medical center in India, (b) the extent of conflict concerning ownership of data, gift authorship, and other issues in the research environment, and (c) their interrelationship.


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