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    »  Authorship Criteria
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    »  Deceased or Incapacitated Authors
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    »  Artificial Intelligence Tools and Language Models

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Authorship Criteria

Individuals who meet these 4 criteria should be designated as authors (according to the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors [ICMJE]):

  • Participated substantially in the conception and design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; AND
  • Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; AND
  • Final approval of the version to be published; AND
  • Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

In addition to being accountable for the parts of the work the individual has done, an author should be able:

  • To identify which coauthors are responsible for specific other parts of the work
  • To have confidence in the integrity of the contributions of their coauthors

The Journal encourages mentoring new authors in writing projects. These individuals should also meet the authorship criteria, including having participated in original research; or, for Case Reports, in the diagnosis, management, and treatment of a patient.

See also, Conditions for Publication.

Corresponding Author

One individual should be designated the corresponding author. Responsibilities include the following:

  • Serves as the primary contact and correspondent for all communications between The Journal and coauthors
    Note: Co-first authors can be cited in Article Information, but only one can be considered the corresponding author (if this is the case).
  • Identifies a backup person who has the authority to serve as corresponding author in case they cannot be contacted
  • Before submission, ensures all individuals who meet the criteria for authorship are included on the title page in the appropriate order
    See also, Author Changes.
  • Ensures that all names, academic credentials, and affiliations are accurate
  • Ensures that all individuals who made substantial contributions to the work but do not qualify as authors are acknowledged; also obtains permission from each contributor, confirming agreement to be recognized
    See Acknowledgments.
  • Distributes the edited PDF to all authors for evaluation and feedback
  • Works with The Journal production consultants to ensure accuracy
  • Makes decisions regarding release of information to news media, federal agencies, and others

Author Changes

All authors and their order should be determined before submission. Any changes to authors (additions, deletions, list order) must be fully explained. The Journal requires all authors to confirm that they agree to changes. Unresolved disputes in authorship will be brought to the attention of the authors’ affiliated institution(s).

Deceased or Incapacitated Authors

An author who dies or is incapacitated cannot complete the Conditions for Publication form. Therefore, the Corresponding Author will be responsible for verifying the individual’s contributions to the work and for obtaining permission to be included as an author from a family member or an individual with power of attorney. These individuals should also disclose any conflicts of interest the author may have had.

Data Access

One or 2 authors should have full access to the study data, be able to take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis, and have access to original images (such as diagnostic scans and histopathology slides) that support the work.

The authors may be required to make the data available for review purposes. After publication, making the data available to the public, with appropriate institutional approval, promotes research transparency.
See also, Clinical Trials.

Artificial Intelligence Tools and Language Models

Artificial intelligence tools and language models do not meet the Authorship Criteria and, therefore, cannot be listed as authors. The use of such technology to generate content or assist in writing should be explained in the Methods section or Acknowledgments, as appropriate. Authors are responsible for verifying all information (concepts, methods, reference citations) produced with these tools.

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