Coauthorship is a common practice in different academic fields, specifically in science, where research projects usually consist of multiple collaborators from different institutions, fields, or countries. External co-authors are those who are not affiliated with the same institutions as the main or corresponding author but who have made substantial contributions to the research. Such co-authors require to meet specific qualifications and eligibility criteria to be accepted and credited as authors and take responsibility and accountability for the published paper. So, this article aims to cover the primary requirements and eligibility of external co-authors for contribution to a paper and common issues that may affect the eligibility of external co-authors.
What are external co-authors
As mentioned above, external co-authors do not belong to the same institution as the main or corresponding author but have made a significant contribution to the research, writing, or publishing process. External co-authors can offer many benefits to scientific papers, such as improving quality, impact, and visibility, expanding networks and audiences, and dividing their workload and responsibility. However, not all authors are qualified as external co-authors. More precisely, they need to meet specific criteria and standards for authorship and copyright, such as having significant intellectual involvement in the work, drafting or revising the manuscript, approving the final version, and being responsible for all aspects of the work. In the next section of this article, we will discuss all the abovementioned qualifications and eligibility in detail. Stay tuned with us.
Common issues that may affect the eligibility of external co-authors
The eligibility of external co-authors is determined by their affiliations, funding, conflict of interests, or ethical obligations that may influence their participation or publication of the research work. So, they should disclose and handle any potential issues that may arise from their organization, sponsor, industry, or other stakeholders that may have an interest in or impact on the research. Some of the most common issues that may influence the eligibility of external co-authors are as follow:
external co-authors should accurately and consistently indicate their affiliation in the manuscript. This is essential since it reflects their role, responsibility, and accountability for the research. The other importance of the affiliation is that it assists to identify and avoid duplication of the same similar research by different authors from different institutions.
External co-authors should mention their source of funding and clearly state their role and contribution to the research. Sources of funding may include grants, contracts, donations, or other forms of support from public or private organizations. Funding sources may also have an effect on the design, performance, analysis, or reporting of research and may pose a risk of bias or influence the results or conclusions.
Conflict of interest
These co-authors should reveal any conflict of interest that might affect the objectivity or integrity of the research. Conflict of interest may include financial, personal, professional, or academic interests that may compete or conflict with the interests of the study, journal, or audience. This may also compromise the reliability or credibility of research or publications.
External co-authors should respect the ethical obligations that may apply to their research. These obligations may include obtaining ethical approval from relevant committees or authorities, obtaining informed consent from participants or subjects, protecting confidentiality and privacy of data and information, sticking to ethical principles and guidance for performing research involving human or animal subjects, respecting intellectual property rights, and avoiding plagiarism or misconduct.
Eligibility and qualification of external co-authors
As mentioned above, external co-authors need to meet specific criteria and standards for authorship. The most crucial eligibility and qualification of external co-authors are as follows:
Substantial intellectual involvement in the work
The first qualification that any external co-author should possess is having significant intellectual involvement in the work. This means that they should participate in some or all of the following steps of the study:
- Idea, concept, or design of the work
- Collect, analyze, or interpret data
- Formulation or drawing conclusions or recommendations
External co-authors should not be included solely to provide funding, resources, technical support, administrative assistance, or general supervision. They should also not be included for reasons of politeness, prestige, or personal relationships. They should be able to show their specific contributions to the work and how they have advanced knowledge or understanding of the subject.
draft or revise the manuscript
the second qualification is to draft or revise the manuscript. This implies that they should have contributed to the writing of the article or provided critical feedback or suggestions on its content. External co-authors should not be included in just proofreading, editing, formatting, or translating the manuscript. They should not also be included for giving general comments or suggestions that do not impact the main arguments or conclusions of the article. Such co-authors should be able to show their input and effect on the manuscript and how they enhance its clarity, accuracy, or significance.
approve the final version of the manuscript
the third qualification for using external co-authors is to agree on the final version of the manuscript, which means that they should have reviewed and agreed on the content and presentation of the paper before it was submitted for publication. These co-authors ought not to be included without their information or consent. They should also not be included without having access to or the opportunity to review the manuscript. They should also be able to approve and endorse the manuscript and how it shows their contributions and views.
Responsible for all aspects of the work
The fourth and last eligibility for external co-authors is to be responsible and accountable for all parts and aspects of the work. This means that they should be accountable for the integrity and validity of the research. These co-authors should not be included if they are unable or don’t want to define or correct any errors or flaws in the research. In addition, they should not be included if they are ignorant or unconcerned about the ethical or legal implications of the research. External co-authors ought to be able to distinguish and address any problems or questions related to the work and how it complies with the measures and standards of their field.
Academic papers are often the result of collaboration among researchers from various institutions, fields, or countries. External co-authors are those not affiliated with the same institutions but with significant contributions. These co-authors need to meet specific qualifications and eligibility criteria, including substantial intellectual involvement in the work,
draft or revise the manuscript, approve the final version of the manuscript, and be Responsible for all aspects of the work.