Faculty guidelines on authorship

(approved by the CWO, dd 30 November 2022)


Research is increasingly being done in collaboration. This has an impact on research output, which is more than in the past the result of collaborative work. That is why Ghent University has established a university-wide policy on authorship and recognition of contributions to scholarly publishing.

The policy starts from the idea that the static concept of authorship has shifted to a transparent recognition of the dynamic context in which research takes place and the various roles and contributions that go with it (contributorship). The starting point is the significant contribution someone makes to a scholarly publication.

Recognizing authorship and/or contributions in scholarly publishing concerns classic publications in the form of an article, chapter or book, but also the broad range of publication channels, platforms and formats (e.g. conference proceedings, data papers, preprints, registered reports...) and other forms of research output to support the published findings (e.g. datasets, protocols, workflows, software code, etc.).


Those who make a significant contribution to a publication are listed as (co-)authors. Whoever is listed as a (co-)author has made a significant contribution to the publication.

The recognition of authorship and/or contributions in scholarly publishing is done as in an equal partnership, i.e. in a fair, respectful and inclusive way. It is based on scientific merit and not dependent on financial status, career stage, institutional affiliation or other membership, region, gender, etc.

Asking for, receiving or giving recognition goes hand in hand with taking responsibility for (a part of) the result and for any required actions that follow from it (e.g. in case of questions about integrity).

Authorship criteria

  • Authorship is based on a significant contribution to the design of the study, relevant data collection, or the analysis and interpretation of the results
  • In addition, authors must contribute to the writing or substantial revision of the work
  • Authors must approve the final version of the work
  • Authors are jointly accountable for the content of the work (cf. research integrity)

Important: researchers who meet one of the criteria must always have the opportunity to meet the other criteria. This also applies to publications based on student work. Those who do not meet the criteria can be recognized in another way, e.g. by mentioning them in the acknowledgments. Their contribution must be described as precisely as possible.

Are not eligible for authorship (if they have not made any further contribution):

  • fundraising, general supervision of a research group, general administrative support, providing a venue, equipment or materials, recruiting participants, assisting in the writing process, technical or language editing, proofreading.

Order of authors

The sequence of authorship is done in consultation between all authors. Any form of listing is possible. The system used and the decisions derived from it are indicated in the contribution, e.g. in a footnote. Co-first or equal authorship should be avoided as an easy solution.

In practice

It is the responsibility of all involved researchers to communicate and discuss authorship issues in an open, reasonable and constructive manner. Hierarchical lines are of subordinate importance.

Before or at the start of a research project, doctoral project or collaboration

  • The conditions for authorship and the associated contributions must be discussed as soon as possible, preferably before the start of a research project, doctoral project or research collaboration. It is up to the supervisor or principal investigator to ensure this.

With every publication

  • Agreements regarding the recognition and sequence of authors are made in advance as much as possible, e.g. in an authorship agreement
  • Upon publication, the faculty expects a contributorship disclosure based on the CRediT taxonomy. Such disclosure includes all contributions (and the associated responsibility) to the publication. The CRediT can be included in the publication and is uploaded (per author) in Biblio.
  • Under no circumstances may authorship or contributions be manipulated (e.g., by guest authorship, gift authorship, ghost authorship, honorary authorship, etc.).

What if you identify problems?

  • Check whether your view is in accordance with this text and the broader UGent policy
  • If you think this is the case, discuss the problem with your colleagues involved (other co-authors, supervisor, contributors, etc.)
  • If you cannot find a suitable solution, you can ask for mediation. Please contact your research group leader or head of department. You can also ask advice from the Ghent University policy advisor(s) for research integrity
  • If the conflict is not resolved, it can be submitted to the secretariat of the Committee for Research Integrity. The Committee then investigates the case and offers its advice to the Rector of Ghent University.