3. Publication and authorship

Researchers at Health must follow AU’s basic principles and disclose all relevant relationships in the final publication or research communication, so that it is clear that the central principles have been complied with. As a minimum, the following must be stated: 

  • potential conflicts of interest
  • funding
  • authorship
  • quality assurance (peer review)
  • the nature of any external party’s contribution.

In connection with publication of the results of a completed research project, the following applies:

  • All results from completed studies should be published – including any negative or inconclusive results.
  • Results are to be published in the most timely manner possible. If it is necessary so as to be able to safeguard the external party’s intellectual property rights, time may be allocated to ensure that the external party has the option of postponing the planned publication for an appropriate period of time. Such postponements will typically last for three to four months, and may never exceed six months, from the date of receipt to submission of comments. (See AU’s basic principles). In the case of clinical trials, the University Hospital’s guidelines for entering into research contracts (in Danish) must be followed, in which the postponement must never exceed 3 months.
  • In connection with submission to a journal, data should be anonymised, so that it is not necessary to apply to the Danish Data Protection Agency for approval of the journal’s use of the data.
  • All authors, including supervisors, must meet all of the authorship criteria.  

In order to be able to obtain authorship for the scientific publication, the following minimum contribution must have been made: 

1.  Substantial contributions to the conception or design, data collection, analysis or interpretation of data, and

2.  Substantial contributions to the drafting of the publication.

In addition, all authors must approve the final manuscript, which is submitted for peer review, as well as the final published version of the manuscript. Aarhus University expects anyone who acknowledges authorship to also assume responsibility for the scientific integrity of the work as a whole. The degree of responsibility of each author is assessed in relation to their individual role in the research project and in relation to their expertise, experience, seniority, supervisory role and other relevant factors, cf. AU’s policy for research integrity, freedom of research and responsible conduct of research.

Anyone who is credited as an author must fulfil the authorship criteria, and anyone who fulfils the authorship criteria must be credited as an author.

Relinquished authorship, ghost authorship, honorary authorship, guest authorship and planted authorship all constitute a breach of responsible conduct of research.

  • The criteria used to establish the order of authors in the list of authors must be agreed on by all project partners at the beginning of the project and may subsequently be revised by joint agreement.
  • Before submission of a manuscript, a joint signed authorship statement detailing the nature and extent of every author’s contribution may be prepared if the terms of authorship are not already regulated by the collaboration agreement. At a minimum, the statement should be retained by the primary author.
  • It is recommended that the principal investigator (PI) take special responsibility for ensuring that the publication is based on credible research. Some journals require that one or several authors guarantee that the entire work was composed in a credible manner, and that this guarantee is stated in the publication.
  • Covert redundant publication, i.e. identical or nearly identical publications, including translation, may not take place. On the other hand, secondary publication (e.g. an English language article subsequently published in Danish (or vice versa)) is permitted when undertaken openly. Use of the same data or subsets hereof in different publications does not constitute double publication, provided any data overlap between a previous and a current work is clearly stated to full disclosure with regard to reviewers and readers.
  • The rules outlined above must also be complied with in connection with publication through other channels than journals.

3.1. Guidelines for reporting

To increase the uniformity and improve the quality of the reporting of various types of studies, it is a good idea to consult the international guidelines in this area, which are available from the Equator network.

3.2 Conflicts of interest

Conflicts of interest are situations in which researchers have financial or other interests that may compromise or influence their research findings. What is decisive in this regard is not whether the research is actually influenced by the conflict of interest, but that there are grounds for suspicion, well-founded or not, that it may have been, cf. the Basic principles for responsible conduct of research and research freedom in regard to collaboration with external parties. All authors must state any conflicts of interest. Conflicts of interest arise when authors or their institutions, reviewers or editors are affected by financial or personal interests, which may influence their judgement and give rise to bias. Potential conflicts of interest may be present even in cases in which an individual believes that an issue does not influence his or her work on a manuscript.

Editors and proof-readers may not work on their own manuscripts or manuscripts from their own organisation, and they should be completely independent of any private companies with interests in the area (economic, advisory board or similar). This rule is intended to ensure that no changes are introduced in the final proof of the manuscript without the approval of the authors.