Chapter 1: Research Integrity

1.4 Authorship, Publication, and Peer Review


Authors are generally listed in order of contribution with the designation of first or last author carrying special weight. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) offers the most accepted standard for author placement. To be included as an author, ICMJE requires ALL three of the following criteria to be met:

  • Substantial contributions to conception and design, acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data
  • Drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content
  • Final approval of the version to be published

Acquisition of funding, data collection or general supervision of the research group does not justify authorship.

The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute encourages researchers to review the authorship policy and adopt ICMJE guidelines when negotiating authorship. PIs are advised to discuss and record authorship decisions early in manuscript development.

Publication Practices

Publishing is essential to winning grants, promotions, tenure and professional prestige. Publications with the highest impact are original, hypothesis-driven, peer-reviewed, and offer novel insights. The emphasis on publishing is even greater considering the increased attention paid to the ISI Impact Factor. While the significance of impact factors varies by discipline, their growing influence on how published research is perceived and evaluated is clear.

Considering the realities of the "publish or perish" environment, researchers face tremendous pressure to publish regularly with good author positioning in competitive journals. Accepted norms discourage "salami publication" (dividing one piece of research into smaller experiments to increase the number of publications), duplicate publication (publishing the same research without acknowledging the first publication), and honorary authorship (listing undeserving authors on publications).

Publication is also essential for the open sharing of information. As of April 2008, The NIH requires all investigators publishing articles supported by NIH dollars to submit to the National Library of Medicine's PubMed Central an electronic version of the final, peer reviewed manuscript upon acceptance for publication, to be made publicly available no later than 12 months after the official date of publication. The NIH shall implement the public access policy in a manner consistent with copyright law.

Hospital-based faculty must list their Children's Hospital affiliation before the University of Pennsylvania or any other affiliation in journal articles, advertisements, notices and other forms of communication with peers in the research community.

Peer Review

The peer review process is critical to establishing a reliable body of research in any given field. In addition to assessing accuracy and relevancy of a given manuscript or grant application, the research community counts on the peer review process to yield reliable and credible research that they can build upon for subsequent or related work.

Peer reviewers help the editor decide whether to accept a paper and provide feedback to authors. Peer reviews must be timely, thorough, constructive, free from bias and respectful.

Manuscripts and grant applications submitted for review are confidential. Reviewers should not share the information or ask for assistance in conducting the review unless specific permission is granted by the journal editor.

Ask the Experts

Wendy Williams, Ph.D.
Office of Responsible Research Training

« Back to "Authorship, Publication, and Peer Review"

Developed by the Office of Responsible Research Training