Research Policy Handbook


Multi-Authored Research Papers

Policy Authority

Senate of the Academic Council, upon the recommendation of the Committee on Research

Now in Policy Details

Presents guidelines for manuscripts produced by multi-investigator research teams, addressing coherence, review, co-authorship, and maintenance of data.

1. Introduction

Multi-investigator research teams differ significantly from the individual faculty/graduate student research teams, which are the norm at Stanford. In particular, the former often consist of colleagues from different disciplines who perform different, specialized functions. It is possible for participants to have little knowledge or understanding of parts of the work performed by their colleagues. Sometimes, there is no single person who understands all the research.

2. Guidelines

With this in mind, the Committee on Research has drawn up the following guidelines for scholarly manuscripts emanating from multi-investigator research. We have endeavored to keep these simple and fundamental. As a consequence, the guidelines appear applicable to all scholarly collaborations in which multiple authorship is anticipated.

  1. Principal investigators and senior faculty have special responsibilities to assure the overall cohesiveness and validity of the publications on which they appear as coauthors.
  2. All authors in a group effort have a shared responsibility for the published result and should have the opportunity to review all sample preparation procedures and data, as well as all data acquisition and analysis procedures.
  3. Each author in a group effort should have access to the manuscript prior to its being submitted for publication, and should agree to his or her inclusion as a coauthor. All the participants in the program should know that the paper is being prepared for publication.
  4. Early in the project, each research group should define appropriate practices for the maintenance of data.