Academic Authorship Policy



Academic Authorship Policy

This Policy outlines the principles for determining authorship of publications that are the result of research undertaken at the University of Wolverhampton (“the University”).

The purpose of this Policy is to ensure:

  • Researchers who participate in investigation and other academic activities are equitably acknowledged and their contributions are fairly represented.
  • The work of others is cited and referenced appropriately, and acknowledgement of authorship is given to those making a substantial scholarly contribution to the output.
  • The criteria for attribution of authorship of all research outputs is clarified and appropriate steps to confirm authorship are taken prior to any submission of research outputs for publication; and
  • The University complies with all relevant external guidelines relating to the attribution of authorship.

The implementation of this policy is in accordance with the UK Research Integrity Office and the European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity ethical values which are: 
• Excellence
• Honesty
• Integrity
• Cooperation
• Accountability
• Training and Skills
• Care, Safety and Respect

4 Definitions

This policy applies to:

  • Research and other academic outcomes distributed by both traditional and web-based publications such as journal articles, books, reports, chapters and conference papers.
  • All Researchers including academic, professional staff, students, volunteers, Fellows, visiting academics and students and any other person(s) involved in joint publications with Researchers at the University.

Authorship must be offered to all researchers satisfying the eligibility criteria. To be eligible to claim authorship the contribution must be intellectual and substantial and made in a combination of the following areas:
a) Project and concept design.
b) Research data analysis and interpretation.
c) Drafting significant components of the work; and/or
d) Revision of significant parts of the work to contribute to the interpretation of it.

Authorship is not a right that is:
a) Tied to a position or a profession (such as Dean) or association with the author rather than 
by virtue of intellectual input into the work.
b) Based on whether the contribution is paid or voluntary.
c) Attributed to the provision of routine assistance or technical support, in the absence of intellectual input.
d) Offered for providing previously published materials or data to include in the publication, in the absence of intellectual input into the specific project; and/or
e) Pertaining to the provision of resources, data, or material that is already in the public sphere or obtained from third parties with no intellectual input, even if the non-provision would have made the research difficult or impossible to pursue or complete


Unless other conventions or conditions apply a student may be the first author on any work arising from their thesis where they have made a significant intellectual contribution, such as if they had a leading role in the conception and design or analysis and interpretation of data.

A student or student’s supervisor should only be included as an author when they meet the criteria for authorship. A student and supervisor should reach agreement, in writing, on the authorship on a publication arising from a student's thesis. The expectations and confirmation of authorship must be agreed and discussed by both the student and supervisor prior to the award of the degree.

All research undertaken at the University in any capacity (including web-based content), when written up and/or published, must include in their affiliation the “University of Wolverhampton” and the name of the relevant Faculty, Research Centre or Department.

Authorship and authorship order must be discussed and agreed at the initial stage of the project by collaborating researchers, inclusive of current or past students. It is recognised that authorship order will vary between the established written conventions of the discipline and/or publisher and may be in order of contribution, proportion of input from each named author or in some instances as an alphabetical listing.

Decisions pertaining to authorship and authorship order must be reviewed at appropriate times and agreed prior to peer review, appearance on the public record and/or final submission (e.g. if relative or anticipated contributions change).

All authors must retain a copy of all documentation, discussions, disputes, concerns and decisions on acknowledging authorship (either electronic or hard copy).

In the event there is a group of authors, one author will be appointed as the “Executive Author”, the single point of contact responsible for the management of all communication with the publisher, internal and/or external parties.

All researchers offered authorship must accept or decline the offer and agree to the authorship order, in writing, to the Executive Author. A publisher’s signatory document will satisfy this requirement. If the Executive Author is not a University researcher their employer may have an alternate process for recording authorship which may be applied to satisfy this requirement.

All authors must review and approve the manuscript or research output prior to submission for publication. The Executive Author will maintain a copy of all review and approval documentation.

In the event an author is deceased or cannot be contacted (despite all reasonable efforts to do so), the publication is able to proceed provided that all other authors have no grounds to believe this person would have raised any objection to their inclusion as an author.

The Executive Author is responsible for all communications and record keeping pertaining to the research output inclusive of requests for data, agreed authorship discussions, authorship orders, written agreements and disputes, concerns or complaints relating to the designation of authorship on publications. This is in accordance with the Research Data Management Policy: (WLV Policies - University of Wolverhampton).

All authors must ensure all scholarly outputs are recorded in Elements, the University Current Research Information System (CRIS), which in turn ensures that research publications are made available online via WIRE, the University’s institutional repository. Information and guidance can

be located here: Current Research Information System (CRIS) - University of Wolverhampton (

Acknowledgements should be used to recognise the input of those not meeting the criteria for authorship but who have nonetheless made an important contribution. 

In particular the help of technical or support staff, those that have critically reviewed the manuscript and funding agencies should be acknowledged if relevant.



A concern, complaint or dispute may be raised by any one or more of the co-authors at any time prior to publication or post publication and may be related to the inclusion, exclusion or order of authorship.

Co-authors are encouraged to attempt first to resolve the matter through direct dialogue with each other.

Co-authors (preferably via the Executive Author) are encouraged to consult with the relevant Associate Dean (Research), who is independent of the project, to seek assistance to resolve the issue and provide advice regarding the interpretation of the Academic Authorship Policy and any other applicable guidelines.

In the event the co-authors are unable to arrive at a mutual resolution the applicable grievance procedure (Section 11 or Section 12 below) is to be followed.

If the authorship grievance has not been resolved between co-authors and there is collaboration with other institutions the dispute will be managed by the institution of the Executive Author. The relevant Associate Dean (Research) should be advised if the resolution is being managed via an institution outside of the University and informed of the resolution when reached.

If the Co-authors are all affiliated with the University the matter will be referred to the relevant Associate Dean (Research) who will review the matter and attempt to resolve this at Faculty level. This process should take no more than 10 business days and a written response on the outcome of their review will be provided to the co-authors.

If the AD (Research) is unable to resolve the grievance they will refer the matter and all applicable documentation to the Faculty Dean, with a copy to the University’s Research Integrity Lead. The following information will need to be provided:

  • A copy of the documentation used for acknowledging Copies of any key documents that show:
  • how each author has met the criteria for authorship
  • the final approvals of the version to be
  • a list of all authors that are considered to be valid and the reasons
  • a list of any other authors believed to have contributed to the publication and evidence of why they should be fully acknowledged.

The Faculty Dean will review the material presented and make a determination which may include:

  • Removing those researchers that are deemed as failing to meet the authorship criteria and/or acknowledging their contributions, if appropriate.
  • Including all researchers that are deemed as having met the authorship criteria; and
  • Revising the authorship order on the publication.

The Faculty Dean may seek advice from an independent expert (as required) to assist them in making their determination. This may be someone internal or external and may be required in more complex cases.

The research output can only be published when all valid authors agree on the authorship of the publication.

If an individual has any concerns in relation to the authorship of an existing publication, they should refer their concern in writing to the relevant Dean of Faculty.

The Dean will consider the matter and will either proceed as above in section 11 of this policy, or via the University Procedures for dealing with allegations of misconduct in research Research Policies, Procedures & Guidelines - University of Wolverhampton (

Authorship concerns, complaints or disputes do not constitute an allegation of research misconduct unless there has been an intentional and/or reckless breach of the Academic Authorship Policy.

Authorship research misconduct is ascribed if there is the intentional and/or misleading attribution of authorship to those that do not comply with the criteria, or the inappropriate omission or inclusion of authors.

Allegations of research misconduct in relation to the attribution or omission of authorship must be reported as outlined in the Procedures for dealing with allegations of misconduct in research.

There are no exceptions to this policy

This Policy was approved by the University’s Executive Board on 28 March 2023. The University may change this Policy at any time, and where appropriate. Where a policy is not due for review, but is found to require updating, it will remain published, unless the reasons for review render it obsolete

This policy operates alongside the following policies and procedures, both in terms of outlining the University expectations relating to research governance and conduct:
• Transparency Policy
• IP Intellectual Property Policy
• Research Data Management Policy
• Procedures for dealing with allegations of misconduct in research 
• Elements Usage Policy

The above policies and guidance can be located here

Research Policies - University of Wolverhampton (

Research Policies, Procedures & Guidelines - University of Wolverhampton (

Researchers are advised to seek guidance on practice within their own discipline and to consult guidelines set by the funders of their research and the journals in which they hope to publish.

Examples include:

More general guidance is provided by the following groups:

For general queries regarding Research Policies, Procedures and guidelines contact Jill Morgan, Research Integrity Manager, by email: 

For general policy queries, please contact the University Corporate Compliance Team via email: 



VERSION           2.0  AUTHOR/OWNER   Jill Morgan/Research Policy Unit  
Approved Date 28 March 2023 Approved By   University Executive Board
Review Date 28 March 2026