Indian Journal of Dental Research

: 2010  |  Volume : 21  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 315-

Ethical guidelines deciding the authorship

Amar A Sholapurkar 
 Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Manipal College of Dental Sciences, Manipal University, Manipal, Karnataka - 576104, India

Correspondence Address:
Amar A Sholapurkar
Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Manipal College of Dental Sciences, Manipal University, Manipal, Karnataka - 576104

How to cite this article:
Sholapurkar AA. Ethical guidelines deciding the authorship.Indian J Dent Res 2010;21:315-315

How to cite this URL:
Sholapurkar AA. Ethical guidelines deciding the authorship. Indian J Dent Res [serial online] 2010 [cited 2021 Apr 19 ];21:315-315
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Full Text

[SUPPORTING:1]There is an ever increasing expectation from trainees and junior doctors to publish more. It is a fact that authorship of a scientific paper enhances one's reputation. But it is important to deal with some questions before writing a paper. One among these questions is deciding on the authorship. To the best of my knowledge, the situation regarding authorship has not changed over a couple of years. There are no proper guidelines as to who would be the authors and order of authorship. Each institution has its own rules and regulations. It is observed in most (with some exceptions) of the articles written by Indian authors that the head of department is placed as the first author (irrespective of the amount of contribution for the study or the manuscript), followed by the senior faculty members of the concerned department and the real scientific worker (who has contributed to the maximum) as the last author for the publication. This is really unfair and disgusting.

Are there any ethical guidelines which decide the authorship for a paper? I was talking to a senior faculty member of Department of Oral and Maxillofacial surgery regarding the rank of authorship. He gave me an example, where the postgraduate students of his department planned to conduct a study on a particular surgical procedure. In such studies, the senior faculty member usually operates the cases and the postgraduate students usually are learners and observers. In this context, he asked me a question. Who would be the first author if this study is to be published? I answered that the one who has done the maximum work would be the first author. I meant to say, the senior faculty member who has operated all the cases would be the first author, and the second author would be the postgraduate student. It will be better if we have a set of ethical guidelines for such situations, so that the authorship and its rank is totally a transparent and well-accepted procedure and no one can cast aspersions regarding the same.

I would like to cite another example. There was a rare case treated with multidisciplinary approach. The case has been languishing unreported in the department for the past 10-12 months. It is quite a significant case report which would be accepted for publication in any indexed journals. However, due to time constraints or some other reasons, none of them who have managed the case is bothered to publish it. If an initiator or a motivator, who has good writing skills, is interested to write such paper with the help of others involved in managing that case, why not his name be quoted as an author? Otherwise, the case would be left untouched and the scientific community would not get a chance to read such a rare case report. I believe in the fact that we should grow and make others grow. In this case, if it was left for another couple of years, it would have lost its significance and nowhere it would have been published. So, it is important to set some guidelines for the authorship when more than one department is involved in a study and its publication.