University of Pittsburgh

Workplace Related Guidance

Authorship Policy

The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (UPSOM) Authorship Policy establishes minimum requirements for Authorship and Acknowledgments.  The School recognizes that many journals may have additional requirements.  An author must comply with the authorship requirements of the journal to which a manuscript is submitted, provided that he/she also meets the minimum requirements of the School of Medicine. 

The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine minimum requirements are excerpted from “Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals”.  The current document (updated October 2001) is produced by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) and can be obtained on line at    

This policy applies to all written submissions by all School of Medicine faculty, students, residents, fellows, research associates, staff, and other School of Medicine personnel.

UPSOM Minimum Requirements for Authorship

(excerpted from “Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals”)

All persons designated as authors should qualify for authorship, and all those who qualify should be listed.  Each author should have participated sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for appropriate portions of the content.  One or more authors should take responsibility for the integrity of the work as a whole, from inception to published article.

Authorship credit should be based only on a) substantial contributions to conception and design, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data and  b) final approval of the version to be published.  Conditions a and b must be met.  Acquisition of funding, the collection of data, or general supervision of the research group, by themselves, do not justify authorship. 

Authors should provide a description of what each contributed, and editors should publish that information.  All others who contributed to the work who are not authors should be named in the Acknowledgments, and what they did should be described (see Acknowledgments).

The order of authorship on the byline should be a joint decision of the coauthors. Authors should be prepared to explain the order in which authors are listed.

UPSOM Minimum Requirements for Acknowledgments

(excerpted from “Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals”)

List all contributors who do not meet the criteria for authorship, such as a person who provided purely technical help, writing assistance, or a department chair who provided only general support.  Financial and material support should also be acknowledged.

Groups of persons who have contributed materially to the paper but whose contributions do not justify authorship may be listed under a heading such as "clinical investigators" or "participating investigators," and their function or contribution should be described, e.g., "served as scientific advisors," "critically reviewed the study proposal," "collected data," or "provided and cared for study patients."  Because readers may infer their endorsement of the data and conclusions, all persons must have given written permission to be acknowledged.

Approved by the Executive Committee 12/11/01