3. Publication and authorship

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. It is acceptable that patent applications may give rise to some delay.
  • 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.  

At a minimum, an author’s contribution to the scientific publication must consist of: 

  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.

All authors must approve the final research publication which is submitted for peer review and the final manuscript which is subsequently published. Aarhus University expects anyone who accepts 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 policy.

  • 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.
  • Contributions from project partners and intellectual contributions from others should be recognised and cited in the text or under ‘Acknowledgements’ with a wording approved by the persons being acknowledged. Financial or other substantial material aid received for the project must also be stated. Specific guidelines apply to public access to information about private funding of research at state-owned research institutions – see private funding of research (in Danish).
  • 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 translated into other languages, is never acceptable. On the other hand, secondary publication (ex.: English language article subsequently published in Danish in the Journal of the Danish Medical Association, 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.
  • It is crucial that the contents of the article correspond to the summary provided in the synopsis/abstract.
  • The rules outlined above must also be complied with in connection with publication through other channels than journals.

Special authorship rules exist for large multi-author groups, previously termed multi-centre studies. When a large multi-author group is responsible for conducting the studies, the group must identify the persons who will be directly responsible for the manuscript from the outset. These persons must meet the authorship criteria as defined above, and these authors will be the main responsible authors. Journals frequently cite the remaining members of such groups under the acknowledgements. (For more details, please see ICMJE. Multi-author groups, p. 3.)

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

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 proofreaders 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.

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