Policies and procedures

Policy No.
Authoring Organisational Unit
Office of Research - Central Unit
Date Approved
06/06/2012 Revised 11/10/2017
Next Review Date
Approving Body
Academic Council

The University of Western Australia

University Policy on: Determining Authorship and Resolving Disputes between Authors

Purpose of the policy and summary of issues it addresses:

Good authorship practice is expected of all staff and students at UWA. This policy sets out the requirements of determining authorship on publications and outlines the process for dealing with disputes between authors of publications where one or more of the authors are UWA staff and/or students.


the University means The University of Western Australia

UWA means The University of Western Australia

Publication means the dissemination of findings, whether in hard copy, electronic or other means including but not limited to: refereed and non-refereed books and journal articles; conference proceedings; presentations and posters; web pages; exhibitions; patents; registered designs; and creative works.

Authorship is defined in the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research which lays out the principles and rules for authorship of research outputs. Authorship requires substantial contributions to a research output in a combination of:

(a) conception and design of the project

(b) analysis and interpretation of research data

(c) drafting significant parts of the work or critically revising it so as to contribute to the interpretation.

Acquisition of funding, the collection of data, general supervision of the research group, provision of technical assistance or materials alone, does not constitute authorship.

It is recognised that there may be specific requirements for authorship of some journals and editors.

Policy statement:

1 General principles

1.1 It is a basic expectation of the University that academic and research staff and students commit to high standards of professional conduct.

1.2 A framework for sound authorship practice must begin with a dialogue between researchers at an early stage in a research project.

2 Author responsibilities

2.1 Each author must take responsibility for the accuracy, validity, originality, and integrity of the research that they contributed to the published work.

2.2 Where a publication has several authors, it is expected that one author will take responsibility for:

  • recording authorship and managing communications about the publication with the co-authors and the editor/publisher;
  • ensuring that all authors acknowledge their authorship and contribution in writing or by email and then signing the Statement of Authorship form;
  • ensuring that no person entitled to authorship as defined in this policy is excluded; and
  • ensuring that the order of authors is agreed and recorded, whilst the University acknowledges that the accepted practice of the order of author names appearing on the publication varies from discipline to discipline.

2.3 It is desirable that authorship decisions be reviewed by all collaborating researchers periodically during the term of the research project.

2.4 Where appropriate, other persons who have contributed to the research but do not meet the criteria for authorship of this policy, must be named in the acknowledgements.

2.4.1 Funding bodies must always be acknowledged in a manner consistent with that described in the relevant funding agreement.

3 Procedure for resolving disputes between authors

3.1 Authorship disputes may include a disagreement about the inclusion, exclusion or order of authors, and should be as much as possible resolved at the local level.

3.1.1 It is desirable that advice on authorship is sought from the Research Integrity Advisor of the relevant faculty in the first instance.

3.2 When disputes between authors cannot be resolved locally, then the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) must be notified and will decide on an appropriate course of action.

3.3 In making a determination, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) (or delegate) may ask for the following information:

  • a copy of the signed Statement of Authorship form if the work is published;
  • a copy of any key documentation to show how each of the authors contributed to the key authorship criteria as defined in this Policy;
  • if relevant, a list of those believed to be valid authors of the publication(s) but were excluded, and why; and

if relevant, a statement explaining the rationale for the order of authors.

4 Outcomes of authorship disputes

4.1 When all valid authors agree on authorship then the work can be published.

4.2 If one or more individuals do not meet the authorship criteria as set out in this Policy, then they must be removed as authors, and if relevant their contribution to the work must be fully acknowledged in the publication's Acknowledgements or footnotes. However, it is important to note that data or work of others must not be published without their explicit permission.

4.3 If one or more individuals who were excluded from publication were deemed to have met the authorship criteria as set out in this Policy, then they must be included as authors before the work is published.

4.4 If the valid authors cannot agree on authorship then the paper cannot be published in its present form. In this circumstance it may be possible to break the paper down into discrete sections where there is agreement about the contribution of individuals. However, it should be noted that no person who is a valid author must be excluded from the publication without their explicit permission.

5 Breach of the code of conduct

5.1 When work is published and there is an authorship dispute the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) may determine that it must be dealt with as a breach of the Code, or research misconduct, in which case the UWA Policy on Managing Alleged Breaches of the Code of Conduct for Research and Allegations of Research Misconduct must be invoked.

5.2 Research misconduct includes intentional and misleading ascription of authorship such as the listing of authors without their permission or the inappropriate omission of authors.

Related forms: (Link)

Statement of Authorship form at

TRIM File No:


Contact position:

Director, Research Services

Related Policies or legislation:

Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research at

UWA Code of Conduct for the Responsible Practice of Research at

UWA Policy on Managing Alleged Breaches of the Code of Conduct for Research and Allegations of Research Misconduct at