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Authorship

The following policies apply to all PLOS journals, unless otherwise noted.

Everyone listed as an author should meet our criteria for authorship. Everyone who meets our criteria for authorship must be listed as an author.

We expect that all authors will take public responsibility for the content of the manuscript submitted to PLOS. The contributions of all authors must be described.

All authors will be contacted by email at submission to ensure that they are aware of and approve the submission of the manuscript, its content, and its authorship. Some PLOS journals require that all co-authors confirm their assent to publication by email. 

Qualifying for Authorship

Authorship criteria is based on the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals.

The ICMJE lists four conditions for authorship credit. Authors must meet all four conditions in order to be listed.

  • Substantial contributions to conception and design, acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data, and
  • Drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content, and
  • Final approval of the version to be published, and
  • Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

Group Authorship

The ICMJE recommends that group authorship adhere to the following guidelines:

When a large, multicenter group has conducted the work, the group should identify the individuals who accept direct responsibility for the manuscript. These individuals should fully meet the criteria for authorship/contributorship defined above, and editors will ask these individuals to complete journal-specific author and conflict-of-interest disclosure forms. When submitting a manuscript authored by a group, the corresponding author should clearly indicate the preferred citation and identify all individual authors as well as the group name. Journals generally list other members of the group in the Acknowledgments. The NLM indexes the group name and the names of individuals the group has identified as being directly responsible for the manuscript; it also lists the names of collaborators if they are listed in Acknowledgments.

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

Author Contributions

The contributions of all authors must be described. PLOS has adopted the CRediT Taxonomy to describe each author’s individual contributions to the work. The submitting author is responsible for providing the contributions of all authors at submission. We expect that all authors will have reviewed, discussed, and agreed to their individual contributions ahead of this time. Contributions will be published with the final article, and they should accurately reflect contributions to the work. 

Contributor Role Role Definition
Conceptualization

Ideas; formulation or evolution of overarching research goals and aims.

Data Curation Management activities to annotate (produce metadata), scrub data and maintain research data (including software code, where it is necessary for interpreting the data itself) for initial use and later reuse.
Formal Analysis Application of statistical, mathematical, computational, or other formal techniques to analyze or synthesize study data.
Funding Acquisition Acquisition of the financial support for the project leading to this publication.
Investigation Conducting a research and investigation process, specifically performing the experiments, or data/evidence collection.

Methodology

Development or design of methodology; creation of models
Project Administration Management and coordination responsibility for the research activity planning and execution.
Resources Provision of study materials, reagents, materials, patients, laboratory samples, animals, instrumentation, computing resources, or other analysis tools.
Software Programming, software development; designing computer programs; implementation of the computer code and supporting algorithms; testing of existing code components.
Supervision Oversight and leadership responsibility for the research activity planning and execution, including mentorship external to the core team.
Validation Verification, whether as a part of the activity or separate, of the overall replication/reproducibility of results/experiments and other research outputs.
Visualization Preparation, creation and/or presentation of the published work, specifically visualization/data presentation.
Writing – Original Draft Preparation Creation and/or presentation of the published work, specifically writing the initial draft (including substantive translation).
Writing – Review & Editing Preparation, creation and/or presentation of the published work by those from the original research group, specifically critical review, commentary or revision – including pre- or post-publication stages.

Acknowledgments

Contributors who do not meet the criteria for authorship should be mentioned in the Acknowledgments. It is expected that those being acknowledged have given their permission to be named.

Corresponding Author Responsibilities

The corresponding author takes responsibility for and speaks on behalf of all authors.  

Pre-publication:

  • Ensure that the manuscript is in full adherence with all PLOS editorial and publishing policies
  • Ensure that all authors have access to the final version of the manuscript that is submitted to the journal, and agree to the author list and author contributions. 
  • Ensure that all authors have seen the final draft of the manuscript before it is published.
  • Provide to the journal written confirmation that all authors consent to any requested changes in the manuscript’s authorship.  

Post-publication:

  • Continue to be the point of contact for queries about the published paper.
  • Inform all coauthors of any matters arising and ensure such matters are dealt with promptly. 

Professional Medical Writers

The involvement of any professional medical writer in the publication process must be declared. The European Medical Writers' Association Guidelines contain additional information about the role of medical writers.

Authorship Changes

PLOS journals follow the COPE guidelines for changes in authorship.

Changing the author list after submission requires agreement from all authors. This includes additions, deletions, and changes in ordering. Requests must come from the corresponding author along with an explanation for the change. If the change is deemed to be appropriate, the corresponding author must receive and provide to PLOS the consent to the change from all the authors, including any being added, deleted, or reordered. 

Authorship issues identified after publication may result in a correction. In the case of an authorship dispute, the journal will not arbitrate. If the authors are unable to resolve the dispute themselves, we will raise the issue with the authors’ institution(s) and abide by its guidelines.

Author Identification

PLOS endorses ORCID and requires that all corresponding authors provide an ORCID iD when submitting a manuscript. We encourage coauthors to register and use their ORCID as well. 

We publish the corresponding author's ORCID iD as well as any ORCIDs provided by coauthors if the manuscript is accepted. We participate in the auto-update feature implemented by Crossref such that when a paper is published, the authors’ ORCIDs are deposited and subsequently used to update each author’s ORCID record. Read more about ORCID

  Watch this short video for instructions on how to register for an ORCID iD and link it to your Editorial Manager profile.

Editor and Reviewer Requirements

Editors should be aware of the author list and author affiliations when they invite reviewers to review a manuscript in order to reduce the likelihood of inviting individuals with potentially competing interests that would disqualify them from participating in the peer review process.

Editors and reviewers should contact the journal with any concerns about the author list or if they identify any potentially competing interests that should be declared or that mean they should recuse themselves from the process.