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


Of the 118 teaching faculty, 23 were not available at the time of distribution of the questionnaire and 77 responded. The sample disposition and response rates are given in Table 1.[8] Fourteen (18%) respondents were in the age group 30-40 years, 31 (40%) were 41-50 years old, 29 (38%) were 51-60 years, 2 (3%) were > 60 years, and 1 patient (1%) did not disclose age. Twenty-eight (36%) respondents reported that they had zero to 15 indexed publications, 24 (31%) had 16 to 35, and 19 (25%) had > 36. Six (8%) respondents did not disclose the number.

Awareness of Authorship Criteria

Fifty respondents (65%) reported that they were aware that authorship criteria existed; only 34 (44%) correctly identified a source. Barring one, none of the respondents had heard of the existence of local, institutional guidelines for authorship. On the basis of the results, we identified 3 groups of respondents: (a) those who could name a source correctly (n = 34), (b) those who knew criteria existed but could not name a source (n = 16), and (c) those who did not know that criteria existed (n = 27). The first group correctly identified an average of 9.62 ± 1.97 of the 14 criteria listed in the questionnaire; the second correctly identified an average of 8.81 ± 3.06; the third correctly identified an average of 8.56 ± 2.23 criteria. The difference was not statistically significant (P = .20).

Criteria Used to Award Authorship

The criteria reported by respondents for awarding authorship are given in Table 2. Forty-three (56%) respondents correctly indicated the criteria identified by ICMJE as essential for awarding authorship, but only 5 (7%) of them indicated just those and none other.

Rate and Type of Conflict

Overall, 30 (39%) respondents reported conflict over authorship issues; some reported more than 1 reason. Twenty-one (27%) respondents had experienced conflict-self, while 19 (25%) had experienced conflict-other. Tables 3 and 4 show the reasons given for conflict. On the basis of the results, the nature of authorship conflict was classified into 3 types: (a) relating to ownership of data, (b) gift authorship, and (c) pertaining to academic competition, personality differences, intellectual passion, or order of authorship. There was no difference between the respondents who reported conflict and those who did not with regard to the number of authorship and acknowledgement criteria identified correctly (0.78).


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