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Library Research Support: Authorship & Acknowledgements

Support for Research Staff & Research Students

Authorship & Acknowledgements in Research Publications

This guide collects guidance for all authors on; 

  1. Authorship: Ensuring credit is appropriately given, and that disputes around authorship can be avoided; 
  2. Affiliations: Ensuring that a Durham University affiliation is recorded correctly in scholarly publications; 
  3. Acknowledgements: Guidance on acknowledging funding in scholarly publications; 
  4. Supplementary Materials: Guidance on ensuring access to material supplementary to a published output;
  5. Related guidance on copyright, ORCID and author IDs and plagiarism.

Authorship and Affiliation policy and guidance

Authorship Guidance

"[Principal Investigators should] in the case of academic publications, ensure contributors are included as corresponding authors where appropriate."

Durham University Research Integrity Policy and Code of Good Practice [Section 10.0]

The full University Guidance, approved at University Research Committee (January 2020) can be downloaded here.

The guidance covers:

  1. Why authorship matters?
  2. Planning for authorship
  3. What is an author?
  4. Responsibilities of authorship
  5. Non-author contributors
  6. Problems with authorship
  7. How authorship disputes are handled at Durham
  8. Useful Links and additional resources

Fair Attribution Guidance for Research Technical Professionals (RTP) and other Research-performing & Research-enabling Staff

As a signatory of the Technician's Commitment, Durham University has also provided guidance which advises all Durham staff and students how the contribution of technicians and other staff can be attributed or acknowledged in an appropriate manner.

How authorship disputes are handled at Durham

Please see our full guidance on authorship and appropriate credit above.

Staff are encouraged to try and resolve any disputes on a peer-to-peer level and this guidance is designed to help them to do so. It is recognised that there are occasions where this is not possible and in these cases the escalation process is outlined below. At any point support and advice can be accessed from RIS / Library via the Research Policy email.

Stage one - Informal

It is expected that most disputes can be resolved at this stage.

  1. Advice should be sought from your designated ethics contact in the first instance. At this stage it is expected that the interaction will still be between members of the research team.
  2. If the dispute cannot be resolved here then then it should be escalated to the Head of Department. At this point it may be necessary for the HoD to open direct dialogue with their counterparts at the other institution, and it may be useful to discuss the issue with the publishers as well. The onus remains on an amicable / mutually agreeable solution but if a resolution cannot be found here then it is escalated to stage two.
Stage two - Formal
  1. The Head of Department should provide a summary of the issue to Vice Provost (Research). The VP(R) may engage in dialogue with their counterparts to affect a mutually agreeable solution. However in cases where this is not possible then, taking advice from Legal and other services as required, a unilateral action may be taken.
  2. The decision of the VP(R) is final.


Authorship Guidance: Flowchart

The Flowchart below builds upon the full authorship guidance presented above, and the guidance on authorship and acknowledgement for Research Technical Professionals (RTP) and other Research-performing and Research-enabling staff, to provide a visual guide of all staff and students. This is designed to aid our community in identifying when an authorship credit, or acknowledgement of contribution, is warranted and to support discussions within research teams.

[Please click on the image below to download a larger, pdf copy]

Visual of Authorship Guidance Flowchart.

Author Affiliations in Publications

"It is the responsibility of individual authors to ensure that their affiliation to Durham University is correctly recorded. This includes checking the proofs of any publications received."

Policy on Institutional Affiliation in Connection with Durham University Research Publications [Section 4.0]

Authors are strongly advised to standardise how they record their affiliation(s) where applicable. This can:

  • Enhance the visibility of research at the University.
  • Increase the esteem and reputation of individual researchers, research groups and the University amongst the research community at both national and international level.
  • Ensure individual researchers, research groups and the University receive appropriate academic recognition.
  • Improve more accurate measuring and recording of publication metrics associated with research outputs (such as citation impact metrics), where they are used in University League Tables and assessment exercises such as the REF.

Authors should be familiar with the University's Institutional Affiliation Policy, and refer to the examples and guidance included within it.

CRediT Guidance

"CRediT (Contributor Roles Taxonomy) is high-level taxonomy, including 14 roles, that can be used to represent the roles typically played by contributors to scientific scholarly output. The roles describe each contributor’s specific contribution to the scholarly output."

CRediT – Contributor Roles Taxonomy  [NISO]

Authors are recommended to agree on the form of contribution an author (or other contributor) has made to a research output, in line with the University's guidance on authorship, and that where appropriate this should reflect the roles identified in the CRediT list of contributor roles. This list of contributor roles is increasingly being used by journals as part of the manuscript submission process and other research systems.

Acknowledgement of funding

"[All researchers should] appropriately acknowledge anyone who has directly or indirectly assisted their work. This includes collaborators, funders and participants."

Durham University Research Integrity Policy and Code of Good Practice [Section 10.1(e)]

In 2008, major research funders and publishers published guidance for authors to help standardise how research funding should be acknowledged in published research outputs. For some funders, such as the UK Research Councils and the Wellcome Trust, this is a requirement for most research funding awards.

The recommended format is at below:

This work was supported by the Wellcome Trust [grant numbers xxxx, yyyy]; the Natural Environment Research Council [grant number zzzz]; and the Economic and Social Research Council [grant number aaaa].

Full guidance has been archived on the Research Information Network.

Rights Retention Statements

In line with the University's Research Publications Policy, author's are expected to ensure that they retain sufficient rights in the published Scholarly Articles to enable them to share any Author Accepted Manuscript resulting from their submission to be shared freely, for the benefit of other researchers and society more widely.

In line with the expectations of research funders, under the policy all authors are strongly recommended that a statement as detailed below is included in all manuscripts submitted for publication. The following text should be included in the funding acknowledgements1 section of the manuscript, and any cover letter/note accompanying the submission, where possible:


Articles acknowledging UKRI funding

For the purpose of open access, the author has applied a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising.


Articles acknowledging Wellcome Trust funding

This research was funded in whole, or in part, by the Wellcome Trust [Grant number]. For the purpose of Open Access, the author has applied a CC BY public copyright licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising from this submission.


All other Scholarly Articles

For the purpose of open access, the author has applied a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising." (NOTE: the specific licence applied may be amended with the licence as agreed under 2.3.4 of this policy)


Inclusion of statements for accessing data or supplementary materials

"[Principal Investigators are responsible for] Ensuring that the metadata for data underpinning published research findings is accessible online no later than the first date of publication of the output... ."

Durham University Research Data Management Policy [Section 4.3.1]

Many journals, primarily in STEM subjects, will allow or require authors to also submit data underpinning the published research, or provide information on how data might be accessed.

Even where this is not already the case, it is good research practice to at the least, provide an indication of if and how underpinning research data, or supplementary materials, can be accessed, where there are not intellectual property or data protection issues.

It is worth noting that some funders are also require such a statement to be included in published outputs, where applicable.

Technicians Commitment: Authorship

Technicians Commitemnt (coloured graphic highlighting 4 key themes: visibility, recognition, career development and sustainability.

Related Guidance

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