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Ethical guidelines for submission reviews defined

by Mike Wheeler
University Compliance Office
Ethics can be defined as a system of principles pertaining to rights and wrongs of certain actions in respect to a particular group or culture. In other words, a particular body of individuals defines the acceptable ethical actions within their group.
The ethical criteria for co-authorship credit for publications are not defined in MUSC policy or procedure. Therefore, the criteria for co-authorship are important to define whenever initiating collaborative scholarly activities. Co-authorship resulting from the proposed research will be discuss and agreed upon by the members of the study team or staff of the laboratory. In addition, when personnel exit as members of a study team or laboratory staff, the co-authorship credit criteria should once again be discussed with this individual.
Co-authorship credit should be based on substantial contributions to:

  • The conception and design or analysis and interpretation of data;
  • Drafting the article or critically revising the intellectual content; and/or
  • Approval of the final version submitted for publication.

Each co-author should have participated sufficiently to take public responsibility for appropriate portions of the content of the publication. Acquisition of funding, collection of data or general supervision of the study team or laboratory staff does not in itself justify co-authorship.
All contributors not meeting the criteria for co-authorship should be listed in an “Acknowledgements” section. An example of an acknowledgement may include an individual providing purely technical or writing assistance or a departmental chair providing only general support.
The ethical criteria for submission reviews concerning grants and/or awards are also not defined in MUSC policy or procedure. Before using someone’s name on a submission for a grant and/or award, the individual should be contacted and grant permission. In addition, this individual should be provided an opportunity to review the submission prior to allowing the use of their name.
By following these guidelines, principal investigators can help ensure all employees meet a reasonable, ethical standard of conduct concerning co-authorship and submission reviews.

Friday, July 24, 2009

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