Editorial Policies on
Authorship provides credit for a researcher’s contributions to a study and carries accountability. Authors are expected to fulfil the criteria below (adapted from McNutt et al.,Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Feb 2018, 201715374; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1715374115; licensed under CC BY 4.0):
Each author is expected to have made substantial contributions to the conception OR design of the work; OR the acquisition, analysis, OR interpretation of data; OR the creation of new software used in the work; OR have drafted the work or substantively revised it
AND to have approved the submitted version (and any substantially modified version that involves the author's contribution to the study);
AND to have agreed both to be personally accountable for the author's own contributions and to ensure that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work, even ones in which the author was not personally involved, are appropriately investigated, resolved, and the resolution documented in the literature.
BMC journals encourage collaboration with colleagues in the locations where the research is conducted, and expect their inclusion as co-authors when they fulfill all authorship criteria described above. Contributors who do not meet all criteria for authorship should be listed in the Acknowledgements section.
Please see individual journal's Submission Guidelines for information on the format for listing author contributions.
Authors wishing to make changes to authorship will be asked to complete our change of authorship form. Please note that changes to authorship cannot be made after acceptance of a manuscript.
Corresponding authors are responsible for ensuring that all listed authors have approved the manuscript before submission, including the names and order of authors, and that all authors receive the submission and all substantive correspondence with editors, as well as the full reviews, verifying that all data, figures, materials (including reagents), and code, even those developed or provided by other authors, comply with the transparency and reproducibility standards of both the field and journal.
This responsibility includes but is not limited to: (i) ensuring that original data/original figures/materials/code upon which the submission is based are preserved following best practices in the field so that they are retrievable for reanalysis; (ii) confirming that data/figures/materials/code presentation accurately reflects the original; and (iii) foreseeing and minimizing obstacles to the sharing of data/materials/code described in the work. The corresponding author should be responsible for managing these requirements across the author group and ensuring that the entire author group is fully aware of and in compliance with best practices in the discipline of publication.
To discourage ghost authorship, corresponding authors must reveal as appropriate whether the manuscript benefited from the use of editorial services that, if unacknowledged, might constitute an undisclosed conflict of interest. Examples include use of an editor from an organization that may have a vested interest in slanting the results or reliance on a technical writer at a level that would warrant authorship credit. These situations might variously be addressed by including a statement in the acknowledgments, by describing the effort in the methods section, or by adding an author.
The involvement of scientific (medical) writers or anyone else who assisted with the preparation of the manuscript content should be acknowledged, along with their source of funding, as described in the European Medical Writers Association (EMWA) guidelines. The role of medical writers should be acknowledged explicitly in the ‘Acknowledgements’ or ‘Authors’ contributions’ section as appropriate.
Corresponding authors should indicate whether any authors on earlier versions have been removed or new authors added and why. It is incumbent on the corresponding author to ensure that all authors (or group/laboratory leaders in large collaborations) have certified the author list and contribution description: that all authors who deserve to be credited on the manuscript are indeed identified, that no authors are listed who do not deserve authorship credit, and that author contributions, where they are provided, are expressed accurately.
Any potential authorship disputes brought to the editors’ attention will be handled in line with COPE guidelines.
All contributors who do not meet the criteria for authorship should be listed in an ‘Acknowledgements’ section. Examples of those who might be acknowledged include a person who provided purely technical help or writing assistance, or a department chair who provided only general support.
Third party submissions
All manuscripts must be submitted by an author and may not be submitted by a third party.