Publication Practices & Responsible Authorship
Researchers share the results of their works with colleagues and the public in a variety of ways. Early results are usually shared during laboratory meetings, in seminars, and at professional meetings. Final results are usually communicated to others through scholarly articles and books. Public communication takes place through press releases, public announcements, newspaper articles, and public testimony. Some of the ways of communicating research results (i.e., of publication) are well structured and controlled; others are informal and have few controls.
Whether structured or informal, controlled or free ranging, responsible publication in research should ideally meet some minimum standards. All forms of publication should present:
- A full and fair description of the work undertaken
- An accurate report of the results
- An honest and open assessment of the findings
The names that appear at the beginning of a paper serve one important purpose. They let others know who conducted the research and should get credit for it. It is important to know who conducted the research in case there are questions about methods, data, and the interpretation of results. Likewise, the credit derived from publications is used to determine a researcher's worth. Researchers are valued and promoted in accordance with the quality and quantity of their research publications. Consequently, the authors listed on papers should fairly and accurately represent the person or persons responsible for the work in question.