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


This prospective study involved all faculty members of the University College of Medical Sciences in Delhi, India. The faculty has been engaged in research for over 30 years; career advancement is heavily dependent on published work. We surveyed them in March 2006. Each faculty member was approached in person and invited to complete a self-administered questionnaire. Two follow-up attempts were made at weekly intervals, in person. The questionnaire was anonymous and had no personal identifiers.

Questionnaire Development

Since a prevalidated questionnaire could not be found in the literature, we designed and pretested ours prior to administration. As the ICMJE's Uniform Requirements have been adopted by over 300 medical journals,[7] we derived the questions from authorship criteria listed in that document. Questions on conflict were based on the authors' personal experiences, and on anecdotal reports from colleagues. Conflict was considered to have 2 aspects: conflict-self, when other people had conflict with the respondent who was the principal author, or conflict-other, when the respondent had conflict with another person who was the principal author.

The primary outcome variables were extent of awareness of criteria for authorship in research publications and extent of conflict relating to authorship issues. The secondary outcome variable was the interrelationship between the two.

Statistical Analysis

The data were entered into an Excel worksheet and subjected to statistical analysis using SPSS package, version 13. One-way ANOVA was used to determine the difference in mean authorship and acknowledgment criteria correctly identified by 3 groups of respondents. Student's t-test was used to determine the relationship between number of authorship/acknowledgment criteria correctly identified and conflict.


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