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Research Authorship and Publications Policy

Section 1 - Purpose and Scope

(1) The purpose of this Policy is to:

  1. Support compliance with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research 2018,
  2. Ensure fair and honest authorship attribution,
  3. Ensure ethical and equitable authorship practices, and
  4. Outline the principles and responsibilities for determining authorship attributions for research outputs emerging from research activities undertaken by the University.

(2) This policy adopts the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and Australian Research Council (ARC) Guide 'Authorship: A guide supporting the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research'.

(3) This policy should be read in conjunction with:

  1. The Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research 2018,
  2. The Guide to Managing and Investigating Potential Breaches of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research 2018,
  3. Authorship: A guide supporting the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research 2018,
  4. The ARC Research Integrity Policy,
  5. The NHMRC Ethical conduct in research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and Communities: Guidelines for researchers and stakeholders 2018,
  6. Responsible Research Conduct Policy,
  7. Responsible Research Conduct Procedures - Staff,
  8. Responsible Research Conduct Procedures - Higher Degree Researchers (Students).


(4) This Policy applies to all staff and Higher Degree Researchers who carry out research under the auspices of the University, Honours students and students undertaking research as part of their coursework award.

(5) This policy applies to all research outputs, including non-traditional research outputs, and the attribution of authorship in other documents related to research, for example, research proposals, grant applications, reports for funding agencies, tenders, patents and patent applications. It also covers web-based publications and applications including professional blogs and any form of authored research output that is made publicly available.

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Section 2 - Definitions

(6) For the purposes of this policy, the definitions are consistent with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research 2018 (the Code), the Guide to Managing and Investigating Potential Breaches of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research 2018 (the Guide) and Authorship: A guide supporting the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research 2018 (the Authorship Guide).

(7) ARC means the Australian Research Council.

(8) Author means an individual who has made a significant intellectual or scholarly contribution to research and its output and who has agreed to be listed as an author.

(9) Corresponding author means the author who is, as agreed by all co-authors, responsible for communication with the publishers, managing communication between the co-authors and maintaining and storing records of the authorship agreement.

(10) Ghost authorship is where a person, such as a research assistant or industry researcher, meets authorship criteria but is not included as an author on a publication.

(11) Higher Degree Researcher (HDR) means a higher degree by research student.

(12) NHMRC means the National Health and Medical Research Council.

(13) Procedural Fairness means that a fair and proper procedure is used when making a decision.

(14) Research is a broad concept and includes the creation of new knowledge and/or the use of existing knowledge in a new and creative way so as to generate new concepts, methodologies, inventions and understandings. This could include synthesis and analysis of previous research to the extent that it is new and creative.

(15) Research Integrity Advisor (RIA) is a person or persons with knowledge of the Code and institutional processes nominated by the University to promote the responsible conduct of research and provide advice to those with concerns or complaints about potential breaches of the Code.

(16) Research output communicates or makes available the findings of research that may be in hardcopy, electronic or other form. Examples of research outputs include, but are not limited to, journal articles, book chapters, books, conference papers, reports, datasets, patents and patent applications, performances, videos and exhibitions.

(17) Researcher means a person who conducts or assists with the conduct of research.

(18) Significant intellectual or scholarly contribution means a contribution that must include one, and should contain a combination of two or more of the following:

  1. Conception and design of the project or output,
  2. Acquisition of research data where the acquisition had required significant intellectual judgement, planning, design or input,
  3. Contribution of knowledge, where justified, including Indigenous knowledge,
  4. Analysis or interpretation of research data,
  5. Drafting significant parts of the research output or critically revising it so as to contribute to its interpretation.

(19) Staff (for the purpose of this policy) means all persons who are academic or professional employees of Southern Cross University, including full time, fixed term and casuals, and adjunct, visiting, emeritus and conjoint appointees who are engaged in supervisory roles and/or carry out other research roles under the auspices of the University.

(20) Student means a person who is registered as a student of the University regardless of whether at the time of the publication of a research output they are currently enrolled in a course of study conducted by or within the University.

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Section 3 - Policy Statement

(21) All those who have made a significant intellectual or scholarly contribution to a research output should be named as authors unless an individual is unwilling to be named as an author, and in these cases their contribution may not be included in the research output.

(22) Different authorship criteria may apply when collaborating with researchers located in other nations. In these cases it is essential that authorship arrangements respect customs and cultural mores, and comply with that nation's requirements.

(23) Junior researchers and HDRs are entitled to authorship where they have made a significant intellectual or scholarly contribution, notwithstanding that they may have been more closely supervised than other potential authors.

(24) Authorship must not be attributed when an individual has not made a significant intellectual or scholarly contribution to research output. Authorship should not be attributed on the basis of:

  1. The provision of funding, data, materials, infrastructure or access to equipment,
  2. The provision of routine technical support, advice or assistance,
  3. The position or profession of an individual, such as their role as the author's supervisor or work unit head (i.e. 'gift authorship'),
  4. Whether the contribution was paid for or voluntary,
  5. The status of the individual who has not made a significant intellectual or scholarly contribution being such that it would elevate the esteem of the research ('guest authorship').

(25) A person who qualifies as an author must not be included or excluded without their written agreement.

(26) It is a breach of the Code for a person to claim, demand or accept authorship without having made a significant intellectual or scholarly contribution to the publication.

(27) It is a breach of the Code for a person to offer or attribute authorship to a person who has not made a significant intellectual or scholarly contribution to a publication.

(28) Breaches of this policy and procedures may be handled under the Responsible Research Conduct Policy and Procedures and other University processes.

(29) Where a person has made editorial contributions to significant collective works or anthologies of research papers analogous those of an author, similar criteria may apply to the attribution of editor, as to author. The term of 'editor' should only be applied to a person who has played a significant role in the intellectual shaping of a publication.

(30) Contributions to research that do not meet the criteria for authorship should be acknowledged, as appropriate (e.g. technical support or provision of infrastructure).

(31) 'Ghost authorship' is inconsistent with the Code and this policy.

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Section 4 - Responsibilities


(32) The University is responsible for providing ongoing training that promotes and assists and all researchers, other relevant staff and HDRs follow this policy the Research Authorship and Publications Procedures.


(33) The corresponding author has primary responsibility for ensuring all contributors to a research output are appropriately recognised through authorship or other forms of acknowledgement.

(34) All authors are responsible for alerting the corresponding author about any author or contributor, including Higher Degree Researchers or junior researchers or staff, who may have been inadvertently or deliberately omitted.

(35) Authorship agreements should be discussed at the commencement of a research project and put in place prior to the commencement of writing up a research project. Authorship agreements must be in place prior to submitting the research output for publication.

(36) The corresponding author is responsible for obtaining, maintaining and securely storing records of written authorship agreement. Other authors should keep their own records of authorship.

(37) All authors are accountable for the whole research output. The level of accountability will be dependent on the extent and contribution made.

(38) Each author is responsible for ensuring the accuracy and integrity of their direct contribution to the research output, consistent with the Code.

(39) All authors are responsible for taking reasonable steps to ensure the accuracy and integrity of the contributions made by all other co-authors.

(40) All authors should be able to identify which co-authors are responsible for specific parts of the work, and for raising any concerns about the accuracy and integrity of the research prior to submission or publication of the research output.

(41) If a person does not agree to being accountable for their contribution to the research, the contribution of this individual should not be included in the research output.

(42) All authors must ensure any concerns raised about the accuracy or integrity of any part of a research output are responded to appropriately, and the public record is corrected, where the accuracy or integrity of the research is found to be compromised.

(43) In the case of a deceased author, it should be noted in the research output that the author is deceased and all authors must be confident that the deceased author's contribution was accurate and complied with required levels of integrity.

(44) All authors must approve the research output prior to submitting it for publication.

(45) All authors must approve the final version of the research output prior to publication.

(46) The corresponding author is responsible for the coordination of the approval of the final research output by all authors, and keeping written records of the approvals.

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Section 5 - Dispute resolution

(47) Authors may consult with Research Integrity Advisors at any time for advice regarding authorship of research outputs.

(48) Authors (and excluded authors) should first attempt to resolve authorship matters between the individuals concerned.

(49) In cases where the concern, complaint or dispute cannot be resolved between authors(and excluded authors), and all authors (and excluded authors) are Southern Cross University staff, Higher Degree Researchers, Honours or coursework students, the matter will be managed by the Head of School/Centre/work unit of the corresponding author, in consultation with the Head of any other School/Centre/work unit involved.

(50) If the dispute cannot be resolved by the relevant Head of School/Centre/work unit, the matter must be referred to the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) who will make a final determination.

(51) Authorship dispute resolution processes are contained in the Procedures.

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Section 6 - Procedures

(52) Refer to the Research Authorship and Publication Procedures.

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Section 7 - Guidelines

(53) Nil.