Author roles and responsibilities

IOP Publishing follows the authorship criteria set out by the International Council of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE). Within this, for someone to be considered an author of a work, they must meet all 4 of the following criteria: 

  • Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; AND 
  • Drafting the work 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. 

All named authors should be able to identify which co-authors worked on specific parts of the work. In addition, authors should have confidence in the integrity of the contributions of their co-authors. 

It’s important all authors agree prior to submission the authorship of their paper, the order in which author names are presented, and ensure all those, and only those, who meet this criteria are included as authors. Acquisition of funding, collection of data or general supervision of the research group does not constitute authorship. 

Other individuals who have contributed to the study in a lesser capacity should be acknowledged, subject to their consent to be named (we may not ask you to provide evidence of this, but please keep a copy for your records), but not cited as authors. Please ensure you declare in the acknowledgments if an individual or organisation has supported with any portions of the work that have been outsourced (such as for translation work, support with experiments etc). Please note, the acknowledgements should not be used to misleadingly imply a contribution or endorsement by individuals who have not, in fact, been involved with the work or given an endorsement.  

We strongly encourage authors to make specific attributions of contribution and responsibility in the acknowledgements of the article. Authors may wish to use a taxonomy such as CRediT to describe the contributions of each author. 

We understand some research fields follow long standing prescribed authorship practices for recognised ‘big science’ collaborations, which may differ from the above. Corresponding authors of relevant articles will be asked to confirm upon submission if their paper follows these established practices, and this will be assessed at the journal level according to the accepted practices within that field of study.

If an unresolvable authorship dispute arises, the institution(s) where the work was undertaken should be asked to investigate. IOP Publishing will not arbitrate in cases where there is disagreement over authorship. IOP Publishing has the right to remove your article from the review process until a resolution can be agreed, or issue an expression of concern to the work whilst the investigation is ongoing. 

Responsibility of the corresponding author 

It is the corresponding author’s responsibility to ensure that all named authors have consented to submission to the journal, approved the submitted version of the article, and all further revisions.  

It is the corresponding author’s responsibility to ensure the paper is not under consideration by any other journal at the time of submission.  

It is the corresponding author’s responsibility to ensure the contact details for all co-authors are correctly entered into the submission system, and are correct at the time of submission. 

Changes in authorship 

Any changes to authorship during the publication process must be approved by all authors of the paper, and all authors must confirm to the journal that they give their consent and made a genuine intellectual contribution to the paper.  

In addition, you must explain to the journal the reasons behind the change in authorship based on the guidelines above. IOP Publishing reserves the right to refuse requests if there is reason to doubt the legitimacy of the request. 

Deceased authors 

In cases where an author has sadly passed away before a paper has been submitted, or during peer review, we require consent from a familial or legal proxy of the deceased for the paper to be reviewed for potential publication. Deceased authors are still eligible for co-authorship if they made a significant intellectual contribution to the article (see above).

Use of Large Language Models/AI writing tools

AI Chatbots or Large Language Models (LLMs) do not meet the minimum authorship criteria set out by IOP Publishing or many other industry authorship guidelines, including WAME and IJCME.  LLMs cannot meet IOPP’s requirements for authorship, particularly “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.” An author also assumes responsibility for a work, including the need to satisfy any copyright or other legal obligations. The same cannot be applied to LLMs, as they lack the ability or comprehension to assume responsibility for work they have helped create. For example, they cannot understand issues around conflicts of interest, nor do they have the legal personality to sign publishing agreements or licences.

Authors using LLMs to assist in generating ideas and/or aiding drafting of the paper should declare this fact and provide full transparency of the LLM used (name, version, model, source) within the paper they are submitting. This is in line with IOPP’s recommendation to acknowledge any writing assistance. Use of an LLM should be properly documented in the Methods section (and if a Methods section is not available, in the acknowledgment section of the manuscript. Authors using these tools to create any part of their work are requested to check for accuracy and are reminded that they, as named authors on the work, take full responsibility for the full content of the work.