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Research Authorship and Outputs Policy

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Section 1 - Key Information

Policy Type and Approval Body Academic – Academic Board
Accountable Executive – Policy Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Industry Engagement)
Responsible Manager – Policy Executive Director, Research Office
Review Date 24 January 2027
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Section 2 - Purpose

(1) This Policy states the requirements for the attribution and management of research authorship in line with criteria set out in the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2018) (the Research Code) and supporting Authorship Guide and Publication and Dissemination of Research Guide.

(2) The purpose of this Policy is to:

  1. Establish procedures to ensure the University and researchers meet the relevant principles outlined in the Research Code:
    1. Principle 1, ‘Honesty in the development, undertaking and reporting of research’, which requires researchers to present information truthfully and accurately in reporting research.
    2. Principle 2, ‘Rigour in the development, undertaking and reporting of research’, which requires researchers to underpin research by attention to detail and robust methodology, avoiding or acknowledging biases.
    3. Principle 3, ‘Transparency in declaring interests and reporting research methodology, data and findings’ which required researchers to disclose and manage conflicts of interest.
    4. Principle 4, ‘Fairness in the treatment of others’, which requires researchers to give credit, including authorship where appropriate, to those who have contributed to the research.
    5. Principle 6, ‘Recognition of the right of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to be engaged in research that affects or is of particular significance to them’, which requires researchers to credit the contributions of Indigenous people and knowledge.
    6. Principle 7, ‘Accountability for the development, undertaking and reporting of research’, which requires that the consequences and outcomes of research are considered prior to its communication.
  2. Clarify the principles of attributing authorship for research outputs;
  3. Ensure that researchers appropriately and consistently attribute authorship for all research outputs;
  4. Ensure that publication and dissemination of traditional and non-traditional research outputs and non refereed publications (e.g. blogs and social media posts), as well as dissemination undertaken as part of applications for research grants and any other forms of dissemination consider any ethical or legal restrictions relating to intellectual property and the appropriate handling of confidential or other sensitive information prior to dissemination of research outputs.
  5. Establish the University’s position regarding the dissemination of research. La Trobe recognises the benefit to the wider community from the dissemination of research findings and encourages publications, and underlying or supporting data resulting from research activities to be disseminated as broadly as possible at the earliest opportunity. This Policy outlines the University’s requirements in the publication and dissemination of research outputs and educational resources, including a commitment to the principles of Open Access.
  6. Provide a mechanism for raising concerns, for the fair and timely resolution of disputes about authorship and for authorship disputes involving:
    1. Power imbalances between researchers;
    2. Researchers who are unwilling to accept authorship and/or accountability for their contribution, obstruct progress of a research project or output, or fail to cooperate with co-authors; and
    3. Researchers from multiple institutions.
    4. Talking to your co-authors at regular intervals to maintain the authorship conversations and agreements.
  7. Ensure that researchers appropriately affiliate research outputs to La Trobe University.
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Section 3 - Scope

(3) This Policy applies to the research outputs and other forms of dissemination of:

  1. All La Trobe University staff and students;
  2. All visitors involved in research associated with or supported by the University including fellows, scholars and students;
  3. All La Trobe University campuses and external research locations.
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Section 4 - Key Decisions

Key Decisions  Role
Determine that a breach of this procedure is dealt with under the Research Misconduct Procedure Senior Manager, Ethics Integrity and Biosafety
Review evidence pertaining to an authorship dispute and determine the outcome Review Panel
Receive appeals related to the outcome of authorship disputes as determined by a Review Panel
Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Industry Engagement)
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Section 5 - Policy Statement

(4) The University is committed to:

  1. Ensuring that researchers appropriately and fairly attribute authorship to research outputs;
  2. Supporting researchers to ensure their research outputs meet international Open Access expectations that research outputs are F.A.I.R. (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable), taking account of any ethical or legal restrictions relating to copyright, intellectual property and the appropriate handling of confidential or other sensitive information;
  3. Providing an institutional repository for the deposit of Open Access materials (publications, data and educational resources), and ensuring compliance with the Open Access deposit requirements of publicly funded research;
  4. Minimising disputes about authorship and helping to resolve them if they arise.

Attribution of Authorship

(5) For a person to claim, demand, or accept authorship without having made a significant intellectual or scholarly contribution is a breach of the Research Code. Similarly, it is a breach of the Research Code for a person to offer or attribute authorship to someone who has not made a significant intellectual or scholarly contribution.

(6) Authorship must be based on a substantial scholarly or intellectual contribution (which is not necessarily quantitatively large) to the research output and authors must be willing to take responsibility for the final approval of the version to be published and agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work to ensure that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved. An individual author is directly responsible for the accuracy and integrity of their contribution to the output. Authors should have confidence in the accuracy and integrity of the contributions of their co-authors.

(7) The minimum authorship threshold varies between journals, disciplines and institutions. For this reason, the minimum authorship conventions must also include at least two of the following criteria:

  1. Conception and design of the project or output;
  2. Acquisition of research data where the acquisition has required significant intellectual, judgement, planning, design, or input;
  3. Contribution of knowledge, where justified, including Indigenous knowledge;
  4. Analysis or interpretation of research data;
  5. Drafting significant parts of the research output or critically revising, reviewing and translating it so as to contribute to its interpretation.

(8) For matters in which the journals or discipline requires a higher minimum threshold, these requirements take precedence over this Policy.

(9) Authorship cannot be attributed solely based on:

  1. The position or profession of an individual, such as their role as the author’s supervisor or Head of School/Department (‘gift authorship’);
  2. The provision of funding, data, materials, infrastructure or access to equipment;
  3. The provision of routine technical support, technical advice or technical assistance;
  4. Providing general supervision of the research team;
  5. Supervision of students engaged in research;
  6. Whether the contribution was paid for or voluntary; or
  7. Offering ‘guest authorship’ to an individual who has not made a significant intellectual or scholarly contribution to elevate the esteem of the research.

(10) Researchers must offer authorship to all people who meet the criteria set out above.

(11) A person who qualifies as an author must not be included or excluded without authorship evidence as outlined in Part C of this Policy.

(12) For research outputs related to research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and communities, researchers must ensure agreed arrangements are in place as per AIATSIS Guidelines for Ethical Research in Australian Indigenous Studies 2012 and NHMRC’s Ethical conduct in research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and communities: Guidelines for researchers and stakeholders 2018:

  1. Information obtained from Indigenous peoples should be acknowledged in any research outputs
  2. Involvement of individuals in the interpretation of the results and the preparation of any publications including whether they should be co-authors, must be agreed
  3. Clear provisions relating to joint sign-off prior to publication of the research findings
  4. Identification and agreement over individuals involved in the research who should be acknowledged in any research outputs

(13) Where a research output has more than one author, one researcher should be appointed as coordinating author and act as the Corresponding Author with responsibility for managing communication and record keeping. The coordinating author must record and maintain written documentation of authorship agreements in accordance with Part C of this Policy.

Researcher Responsibilities

(14) The Corresponding Author has primary responsibility for ensuring that all contributors to the research output are properly recognised regardless of their position or any changes in their position or role.

(15) All authors should:

  1. Alert the Corresponding Author to any author or contributor who may have been inadvertently omitted.
  2. Take all reasonable steps to ensure that disseminated findings are accurate and properly reported. If a researcher becomes aware of misleading or inaccurate statements in or about their research findings, they must attempt to correct the record as soon as possible.
  3. Formalise authorship arrangements per Part C of this Policy.
  4. Acknowledge contribution other than authorship, for example contributions from individuals or groups providing technical support and/or research infrastructure.
  5. Acknowledge all sources of financial and in-kind support for the research and include any relevant grant numbers in a publication.
  6. Obtain permission from named contributors before acknowledging them or including them as an author.
  7. Take in account any ethical or legal restrictions relating to intellectual property and the appropriate handling of confidential or other sensitive information.
  8. Identify, report and manage any actual, perceived or potential conflicts of interest.
  9. Adhere to the policies and guidelines of scholarly publishers on the use of generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools in research outputs.

(16) Authors are responsible for the content of their research outputs, including sections produced by generative AI tools. Authors who use generative AI tools, whether in the generation of images or graphics, in the collection or analysis of data or in the preparation of manuscripts or literature reviews, must disclose how generative AI was used in the relevant section of the research output and ensure that content generated by AI tools is accurate and correctly referenced.

Institutional Affiliation

(17) La Trobe University staff and students must affiliate to La Trobe University, with the name of the institution written out in full, as their primary affiliation in their by-line on any research output. No specific campus of the University is to be mentioned. When multiple affiliations exist, La Trobe University must be listed first wherever possible. This requirement also applies to work conducted at the University and published after staff or students have left the institution.

(18) For research outputs where La Trobe authors received primary support for the research output from another organisation, La Trobe University must be fully acknowledged in the affiliations, however any requirements of the primary supporting organisation with regard to the order of affiliations may take precedence over this Policy.

(19) Affiliations provided in research outputs must accurately reflect the institutional affiliation of an author. Authors must not claim to be affiliated with institutions where a genuine collaboration does not exist. Intentional misrepresentation of affiliations is considered a violation of this Policy and will be managed according to the Research Misconduct Procedure.

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Section 6 - Procedures

Part A - Relevant Legislation and Guidelines

(20) All staff, students and visitors involved in research at the University are required to comply with the Research Code and relevant legislation and guidelines.

(21) Consider whether there are any restrictions on dissemination due to sensitivities of the data, including confidentiality or privacy requirements.

(22) Take steps to protect any commercially valuable intellectual property, including IP covered under the University’s Intellectual Property Policy and any third party agreements.

(23) Notify the University if their work constitutes dual use research of concern and have adhered to Federal export controls regulations.

Part B - Responsibilities of Collaborating and Coordinating Authors

(24) Where there is more than one author of a research output, collaborating authors should agree on authorship details early in the collaboration process and must do so prior to submission of the output for publication or other form of public dissemination. The coordinating author is usually the Corresponding Author for any peer reviewed scientific journals. This may not be applicable for other types of research outputs.

(25) Collaborating authors should agree on the author responsible for managing all communication to manage all communication about the research output. The coordinating author will:

  1. Ensure that authorship has been offered to all individuals, including students, who meet the authorship criteria stipulated in this Policy or in the relevant journal;
  2. Manage and retain all correspondence between co-authors relating to authorship confirmation and the order of authorship, including taking relevant evidence pertaining to authorship agreements to any new institution;
  3. Confirm that all authors approve of the manuscript or other research output that will be submitted for publication;
  4. Manage communication about the research output with the publisher/venue/facilitator;
  5. Consider any ethical or legal restrictions relating to intellectual property and the appropriate handling of confidential or other sensitive information prior to dissemination of research outputs;
  6. Consider how to communicate their findings to the widest appropriate audience in forms that are accessible to that audience. This may include research end-users, such as governments, industry, not-for-profit organisations, consumers and the general public;
  7. Disclose relevant interests and manage conflicts of interests. This includes fully disclosing relevant interests upon submission of publications, and consideration of appropriate management of potential conflicts of interest.

(26) If the coordinating author is based at another institution, co-authors affiliated with La Trobe University should designate one La Trobe co-author as a University-responsible author who will ensure, to the best of their ability, that the coordinating author fulfils the above responsibilities.

(27) Inclusion of authors who are deceased or who cannot be contacted can proceed only if they fulfil the requirements for authorship and if there are no grounds to believe that the person would have objected to being included as an author. If an author is deceased, this should be noted in the publication.

Part C - Authorship Agreements

(28) All researchers should discuss authorship at an early stage in the research, as well as throughout the research project. Where there is more than one author, an authorship agreement should be in place before the commencement of writing up each research paper. An authorship agreement does not need to be a formal document. It can be in the form of e-mails, a transcript of an online discussion or other similar evidence that can be recognised as an agreement.

(29) At minimum, the following information should be specified in the evidence pertaining to authorship:

  1. identification of those who will be recognised as the authors of the research output;
  2. a description of the contribution that each author has made (or will make) to the research output as defined by this Policy;
  3. an indication of the order in which the authors appear, with the agreed order of authors being consistent with any applicable disciplinary norms and publication requirements; and
  4. identification of at least one Corresponding Author who is responsible for communication with the publisher and managing communication regarding the research output.

(30) All authors of a research output will confirm authorship and order of authorship by providing written acknowledgement of authorship to the coordinating author prior to submission or public dissemination of the research output.

(31) Records of agreement must include:

  1. Order of authors’ names in the authorship list on the research output, as agreed by all authors;
  2. Evidence of discussions (e.g. e-mails) of authorship considerations from all authors;
  3. Written evidence of agreement of authorship from all authors. Written evidence can be obtained by email or by completion and signing of the Authorship Agreement Form;
  4. Written evidence of final approval of submission of the research output for publication or release from each author and that all authors agree that they are responsible for their contributions to the content of the research output;
  5. Agreement that all authors have met the criteria for authorship attribution as detailed in this Policy;
  6. Approval from all authors that the manuscript or research output will be submitted for publication;
  7. Record of any agreed changes to the authorship of a research output;
  8. Provision of appropriate information by all authors about their institutional affiliations according to this Policy;
  9. Individuals being acknowledged by name have provided their written consent. Emailed advice regarding consent is acceptable.

(32) La Trobe authors must retain a copy of all documentation used for assigning and/or acknowledging authorship for their own records. La Trobe staff and students who are nominated to manage communication about the research output must maintain documentation for all authors and acknowledged contributors (see Part B above).

(33) It is the responsibility of the coordinating author to maintain records of the authorship agreement from conception to publication. Where the coordinating author is not from the same institution as other listed authors, authors are encouraged to keep their own records. As a project evolves, it is important to continue to discuss authorship, especially if new people become involved in the research and make a significant intellectual or scholarly contribution. The coordinating author must also document if some researchers originally involved in the design and conception do not have any ongoing involvement in the project and what the agreed authorship arrangements are for future outputs related to the research.

Part D - University and Government Reporting

(34) New staff and graduate research candidates are expected to provide the details of their traditional and non- traditional research outputs to their Head of School and to My Publications on appointment to the University. Staff who produce non-traditional research outputs are also required to provide a research statement and Field of Research (FoR) codes for these works according to the current government reporting requirements.

(35) Staff and graduate research candidates must not claim authorship in My Publications for a research output where they are solely listed as a contributor, or a member of a group acknowledged as a contributor. Authorship can only be claimed where the name of the researcher is listed in the list of authors on the publication.

(36) All Staff with research outputs are strongly encouraged to create an Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCiD). Staff who have research outputs listed in My Publications are expected to provide their ORCiD to My Publications. Staff are responsible for creating and maintaining their ORCiD profile and other profiles linked to external author identifiers such as Scopus and Web of Science.

(37) Sensitive and restricted reports will be placed in a private archive. These materials will have stringent access controls, for access only by peer reviewers essential to government analysis or reporting.

Part E - Depositing Research Outputs into the La Trobe Institutional Repository

(38) Subject to any conditions imposed by a publisher, La Trobe researchers should deposit their accepted manuscripts and accdompanying research data into the University institutional repository. The University encourages selecting a fully Open Access journal for publication.

(39) The form of research outputs that can be submitted to the institutional repository and the procedures for submission can be found on the University Library website.

(40) The Library will provide appropriate access controls to submitted publications in the institutional repository.

Part F - Publications Arising from Publicly Funded Research

(41) Researchers with Australian Research Council (ARC), National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) or any other publicly funded research publications must abide by the open access policies of the funder.

(42) The publication metadata and corresponding ARC/NHMRC grant identification number must also be deposited into the institutional repository within specified funder timeframes, even if they have already been made freely available. The researcher is responsible for supplying ARC/NHMRC grant identification numbers for each deposited research output.

(43) Research funded by signatories to the Plan S policy (e.g. NHMRC, Wellcome Trust, Gates Foundation) must be deposited regardless of publisher embargo.

(44) Where required by a funding agency, the researcher should submit a rights retention statement on submission of an output.

Part G - Training and Education

(45) Researchers can engage with the Research Education and Development (RED) team and the Research Integrity Hub with regard to their responsibilities under the Research Code, including authorship.

(46) The Library will provide education and advice regarding Open Access publishing to researchers.

Part H - Research Misconduct

(47) An authorship dispute does not constitute an allegation of research misconduct unless it is alleged that there has been an intentional and reckless breach of this Policy and the Research Code.

(48) Research misconduct pertaining to authorship can include any of the following deliberate actions:

  1. Misleading ascription of authorship such as inappropriate omission or inclusion of authors;
  2. Accepting credit or authorship on a research output where the researcher does not meet the criteria for authorship;
  3. Failing to give credit, inlcuding authorship where appropriate, to those who have contributed the research;
  4. Attributing authorship to a researcher without their consent;
  5. Publishing a research output without the final approval of the attributed authors;
  6. Failing to comply with an authorship agreement;
  7. Making a false claim about authorship in a grant application;
  8. Submitting to the institutional repository works that are defamatory, misleading or deceptive, or breach a state or federal law or regulation, or offend the rights of any third party.

(49) Authors who wish to make an allegation of research misconduct in relation to the authorship dispute must follow the University’s Research Misconduct Procedure. Where a Higher Degree student undertaking research is the subject of the allegation, the Research - Higher Degree Student Misconduct Procedure applies. Where a student undertaking coursework is the subject of the allegation, the Student Academic Misconduct Policy applies.

(50) Authorship disputes not involving an allegation of research misconduct will follow the dispute resolution procedure outlined in Part I below.

Part I - Resolution of Disputes

(51) If a dispute arises between co-authors or contributors over the inclusion, exclusion or order of potential authors or the failure to acknowledge all those who have contributed to the work, relevant parties should first attempt to resolve the dispute and reach an agreement through direct dialogue. Where the dispute cannot be resolved and it involves parties from other institutions, the dispute should be managed by the institution of the coordinating author or as agreed by the co-authors.

(52) When La Trobe staff or students are listed as the Coordinating author, and they cannot resolve a dispute through mediation, then advice should be sought from the Research Integrity Advisor (or appropriate delegate with research experience such as the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Industry Engagement) who has experience in the discipline where the dispute has arisen. If the dispute cannot be resolved informally, the matter should be reported to the Research Integrity Hub by sending an e-mail to In dealing with the matter, the Research Integrity Hub will endeavour to undertake the following steps:

  1. Contact all co-authors and put in writing a request for evidence pertaining to the dispute. Co-authors have ten (10) business days from the date of the letter to submit all evidence pertaining to the dispute. Evidence can include:
    1. A copy of the documentation used for agreeing and acknowledging authorship;
    2. Copies of any key documentation to show how each contributor has met the criteria for authorship attribution, as detailed in this Policy and have given final approval of the version to be published.
    3. A list of all contributors believed to be valid authors, and why; and the reason for this; or
    4. A list of all individuals believed to have contributed to the paper and who should be acknowledged, and reason for this.
  2. Convene a Reveiw Panel which may include the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Graduate and Global Research) or Senior Manager, Ethics Integrity and Biosafety, and at least one discipline expert as required;
  3. Contact relevant parties to attend a mediation session with the Review Panel. All parties will be notified that they may bring a support person if they wish to do so;
  4. Once the Review Panel has convened, send a letter to the relevant parties to notify them of the panel’s decision. If parties wish to appeal the decision of the Review Panel, they can do so within ten (10) business days of receiving the letter.

(53) Possible outcomes may include:

  1. Removing individuals who were deemed not to have met the authorship criteria as set out in this Policy and acknowledging their contributions, if appropriate;
  2. Including all individuals who were deemed to have met the authorship criteria as articulated in this Policy;
  3. Including all individuals who have contributed to the work in the acknowlegments section of the research output;
  4. Revising the order of authorship on the publication;
  5. Implementing or revising an authorship agreement as per this Policy prior to the dissemination of the research output; or 
  6. Retraction of publication.

(54) Appeals are to be addressed to the Review Panel and Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Industry Engagement) (SDVC(R&IE)) and sent to Within four weeks of receiving the appeal, the SDVC(R&IE) or delegate will provide a decision as to whether there are grounds for appeal or not, and if so, will attempt to resolve the dispute by agreement.

(55) In making a decision, the SDVC(R&IE)or delegate will review the relevant material and may seek advice from an independent person or Review Panel with expertise in the area.

(56) Any review should consider:

  1. If there is a power imbalance between the researchers, for example, between student and supervisor;
  2. If researcher/s are unwilling to accept authorship and/or accountability for their contribution, obstruct progress of a research project or output or fail to cooperate with co-authors; and
  3. If researcher/s are from multiple institutions.

(57) The research output may only be published when all valid authors agree on authorship of the publication and all those who have contributed to the work been acknowledged.

(58) Where a dispute occurs between a Higher Degree student and a supervisor of their research project, the Chair of the Board of Graduate Research will be informed by the Research Integrity Hub when a Reveiw Panel has been convened and of the outcome.

(59) Where an individual has concerns about the authorship of an existing publication, the individual should refer the matter in writing to the Reasearch Integrity Hub by sending an e-mail to The Senior Manager, Ethics Integrity and Biosafety will consider the matter and determine whether it should proceed under the procedures outlined above or be dealt with according to the Research Misconduct Procedure.

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Section 7 - Definitions

(60) For the purpose of this Policy:

  1. Affiliation: An acknowledgement of the institution where an author is employed or has conducted a significant part of the research.
  2. Author: An individual who has made a significant intellectual or scholarly contribution to research and its output and who has agreed to be listed as an author.
  3. Authorship: Being the producer or creator of a new work, in particular, all written work.
  4. Coordinating author: The author who is, as agreed by all authors, responsible for managing communication between co-authors and maintaining records of the authorship agreement.
  5. Corresponding Author: The author who is, as agreed by all co-authors, responsible for communication with publishers and queries related to the published work.
  6. Generative AI: Artificial intelligence system capable of generating text, images, audio, synthetic data or other content.
  7. Higher Degree: Master’s degree or Doctoral degree, whether by coursework or research or a combination of coursework and research.
  8. Open Access: Scholarly outputs freely available in accordance with the F.A.I.R. principle (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable), permitting any user to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full text of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any lawful purpose.
  9. Research output: A research output can be any article in hardcopy, electronic or other form that communicates or makes available the products of research. Example research outputs include, but are not limited to, journal articles, book chapters, books, reports, conference papers, original creative works, live performances, recorded performances, films or public exhibitions.
  10. Staff: All employees of the University or affiliated enterprises with which the University has a formal agreement and includes casual employees, clinical staff and unpaid members of the University such as Honorary and Adjunct appointments, all of which are registered on the La Trobe Human Resources system.
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Section 8 - Authority and Associated Information

(61) This Policy is made under the La Trobe University Act 2009.