Policy Redesign Project

All policies and procedures are being reviewed as part of this project. This document is pending review, but remains in effect until the review is carried out.

Research Publication, Authorship and Peer Review Policy

Establishment: Academic Senate , 29 June 2016
Last Amended:  
Nature of Amendment:  
Date Last Reviewed:  
Responsible Officer: Director, Research Services

1.  Scope and Objectives

1.1  This policy defines the rights and responsibilities of researchers and the University relating to the authorship, publication and dissemination of research outputs, and peer review processes. It should be read in conjunction with the University’s Responsible Conduct of Research Policy and Intellectual Property Policy, as well as the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (the Code).

1.2  This policy applies to all researchers conducting research under the auspices of Flinders University, including staff, students and affiliates.

2.  Definitions

Dissemination means all forms of communication of research findings, such as peer-reviewed publications, non-refereed writing, commercial publication, website content, public comment, conferences, performance and exhibitions.

Peer review is the impartial and independent assessment by others working in the same or a related field.

Publication is any publically available output identified as the work of an individual or group.

Research as defined in accordance with Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC) Specifications means the creation of new knowledge and/or the use of existing knowledge in a new and creative way so as to generate new concepts, methodologies and understandings. This could include synthesis and analysis of previous research to the extent that it is new and creative. This definition of research is consistent with a broad notion of research and development, one that recognises research as comprising creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of humanity, culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise applications.

Researcher means any individual who is engaged in research, as defined above, under the auspices of Flinders University, including staff, students and affiliates.

The Code means the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.

3.  Policy Principles

This policy is based on guidance in the Code.

3.1  Publication and Dissemination of Research

Subject to confidentiality restrictions, Flinders University expects researchers to communicate a full account of research findings as widely as possible, including to peers, professional organisations, stakeholders, research participants and the wider community.

3.2  Peer Review

3.2.1  The University encourages participation in peer review processes, involved in research and research management, the assessment of funding applications, selecting material for publication, the review of the performance of researchers and teams, and the selection of staff.

3.2.2  Participants in peer review will:

  • ensure that they are informed about, and comply with, the criteria to be applied;
  • not agree to participate in peer review outside their area of expertise;
  • be fair and timely in their review;
  • act in confidence, and not disclose the content or outcome of any process in which they are involved;
  • declare and manage all conflicts of interest, not permit personal prejudice to influence the peer review process, and not introduce considerations that are not relevant to the review criteria;
  • not take undue or calculated advantage of knowledge obtained during the peer review process; and
  • give proper consideration to research that challenges or changes accepted ways of thinking.

3.3  Authorship

To be acknowledged as an author, researchers must have made a substantial intellectual contribution to the work, and be able to take responsibility for the part that they contributed.

3.4  Open Access

Publications will be made freely available as soon as possible, subject to relevant legal and contractual requirements, including those of funding bodies and publishers, via the University’s open access repository.

3.5  Compliance

Breaches of this policy and procedures or the Code will be managed in accordance with the Research Misconduct Policy.


4.  Responsibilities

4.1  Author Responsibilities

4.1.1  Each author is responsible for the integrity, accuracy, originality and validity of the research contribution they make to published work.

4.1.2  Authors will ensure that all those who have contributed to the research, facilities or materials are properly acknowledged, and that where individuals are to be named, consent is obtained in accordance with procedures pursuant to this policy.

4.1.3  In cases in which a work has more than one author, a lead author will be appointed to take responsibility for recording authorship, and managing communications and liaison with the publisher/editor and co-authors.

4.1.4  Authors will ensure that publications are made freely available as soon as possible, subject to relevant legal and contractual requirements, including those of funding bodies and publishers, via the University’s open access repository.

4.2  Researcher Responsibilities

4.2.1  Researchers have a responsibility to participate in peer review processes, and must not interfere with peer review processes in which they are not involved, or seek to influence the process or outcomes of peer review of their own work.
4.2.2  Researchers must inform research sponsors of the importance of peer review and publication of research results, and be aware of, and comply with, relevant open access policies and requirements, such as those from funding agencies, including the Australian Research Council and the National Health and Medical Research Council.


5.  Publication and Authorship Procedures

5.1  Dissemination of Research Findings

In the dissemination of research findings, each researcher must ensure that:

  • the report is as complete as commercially practicable, taking into account commercial-in-confidence or intellectual property considerations, including, where appropriate, the reporting of negative findings and results contrary to the hypotheses;
  • a publication is in accordance with the authorship provisions of this policy; and
  • publication activities take account of restrictions or conditions placed on data publication or dissemination relating to confidentiality, intellectual property or culturally-sensitive data.

5.2  Preparation of Work for Dissemination

5.2.1  When publishing research findings, researchers must take all reasonable steps to ensure the accuracy of the findings and their method of reporting.

5.2.2  Where misleading or inaccurate information in, or concerning, the output is brought to the researcher’s attention, all reasonable steps must be taken to correct the record as soon as possible.

5.2.3  All reference sources must be acknowledged and cited accurately when preparing and submitting a work for publication. Where appropriate, community and cultural consultations and input must be acknowledged. Failure to cite and reference appropriately is plagiarism and will be treated as such.

5.3  Rights and Responsibilities of Researchers

5.3.1  In all aspects of the dissemination of research findings, the relevant rights to confidentiality, privacy and ownership of intellectual property of all parties must be respected. The provisions in the University’s Intellectual Property Policy must be applied.

5.3.2  Researchers must register clinical trials with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry prior to the commencement of the clinical research.

5.3.3  In the event that an intellectual property agreement has not been entered into, a student undertaking research should not unreasonably withhold permission for a university staff member, or an approved external supervisor involved with the research, to produce a scholarly publication based on data acquired by the student, provided that the student’s contribution is acknowledged appropriately.

5.3.4  Researchers must not publish the same research findings in more than one outlet, except in particular circumstances such as review articles, anthologies, collections or translations. Researchers must obtain prior approval from relevant parties, such as journal editors and co-authors (or ensure that all reasonable attempts have been made to do so).

5.4  Public Communication and Dissemination of Research Findings

Researchers should be guided by the following points in relation to communicating research findings in public media contexts, such as social media sites, radio and television interviews, invited comment or live debates:

  • where any restrictions on communications have been formally agreed with a sponsor, these must be honoured;
  • discussion should not usually occur until research findings have been evaluated through a peer review process whereby a scholarly work is scrutinised by experts in the same field, or other appraisal processes that meet the standards of the discipline have been undertaken;
  • to minimise misunderstandings, those directly impacted by the research, including interested parties to the research or those given undertakings as part of the research process, should be informed of the research findings before they are made public; and
  • care should be taken to explain the status of the project, e.g., whether it is still in progress, is a preliminary conference report, or has been finalised.

5.5  Attribution of Authorship

5.5.1  In all cases, authorship must be based on a substantial scholarly contribution to the work through a combination of the following (preferably at least two):

  • conception and design of the research;
  • analysis and interpretation of research data; and
  • drafting or revision of significant parts of the work so as to contribute to the interpretation.

5.5.2  Authorship must be offered to those who meet the above criteria.

5.5.3  A person who qualifies as an author must not be included or excluded as an author without their permission. Formal, written records of acceptance or denial of authorship, including original hand-written signatures, email, fax, or equivalent written acknowledgement, must be retained by the lead author’s School or Business Unit. Acceptances should include a brief statement of contribution to the project. Where it is not possible to contact all contributors to a publication (applicable in cases where a person to whom the title of author applies is not contactable or has died), then the publication should attribute authorship providing there are no reasonable grounds upon which to base an argument that this author would have objected to their identification as an author of the work.

The University's Authorship and Data Location Form may be used as a written acknowledgement of authorship.

5.5.4  Authors of web-based publications must take responsibility for the content of the publication, and must be clearly identified in the publication in accordance with the guidelines above.

5.6  Acknowledgement and Affiliation

5.6.1  The right of authorship is not tied to a position or profession, and is not dependent on whether the contribution was paid or voluntary. It is not sufficient to have only provided materials or routine technical support, or to have only generated the data on which the publication is based. Authorship is only granted to those providing substantial intellectual involvement with the research and thus may not be applicable to contributors such as research assistants in all cases. Where assistants have generated the data upon which the publication relies, but have performed no analysis and have made no intellectual contribution to the work, then authorship is not appropriate.

5.6.2  Where contribution to the research and publication has not been sufficient to warrant the status of author, such contribution must be acknowledged in a manner consistent with current practice in the relevant academic discipline.

5.6.3  Flinders University should be identified as the affiliated organisation in the author by-line of Flinders researchers. For publications for which a substantial amount of the research has been conducted, funded or otherwise supported by Flinders University, appropriate acknowledgement in the work should be made at the time of publication. This may include an attribution in the author by-line.

5.6.4  Publications or outputs should disclose financial and other sponsor support as appropriate and agreed by the sponsoring body.

5.7  Order of Multiple Authors

In fields in which position in a list of authors is significant, all parties must:

  • understand the relevant discipline's principles upon which placement in the sequence of authors will be made;
  • determine author listings as early as possible within the research project, which may include recognition of equal contributions by two or more authors; and
  • contribute to the manuscript in a manner befitting their placement in the authorship hierarchy.

5.8  Resolution of Author Disputes

5.8.1  Staff disputes concerning authorship should be resolved through the processes outlined in the Grievances Policy.

5.8.2  For Research Higher Degree students, disputes concerning authorship should be resolved through the processes outlined in the Research Higher Degrees Policy, Appendix G: Conciliation and Arbitration Procedures relating to Supervised Higher Degree Research.