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AFSA Policy on Scholarly Attribution

In an academic community, it is especially important to provide recognition to members of the UTHSC community who contribute to the publication or presentation of research articles, grant submissions, conference proceedings, and other scholarly activities. These efforts should be appropriately acknowledged based on the level of participation by the individual.


There are a range of ways that assistance can be provided on scholarly projects. Depending on the extent of the assistance, acknowledgement as a contributor or attribution as a co-author is appropriate.


Authorship designation should be given if a substantial contribution to the conception or design of the work has been made.

  • The author has made substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work;
  • OR the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data;
  • OR creation of new software used in the work;
  • OR has drafted the work or substantially revised it;
  • AND has approved the submitted version (and any substantially modified version that involves the author’s contribution to the study);
  • AND agrees to be personally accountable for the author’s own contributions and for ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work, even ones in which the author was not personally involved, are appropriately investigated, resolved, and documented in the literature. 1\


Other individuals who have participated in the generation of a project but who do not meet the criteria for authorship should be listed in the acknowledgments section with a brief indication of the nature of their contribution.2

A contributor designation should be given if:

  • The contributor assisted with the project, but the assistance does not rise to the conditions listed above;
  • Raw data was provided, but not analyzed or interpreted;
  • General consultation was provided, including advice on how to proceed, without interpretation or analysis of the problem being solved.


  • Research ethics (IRB)
    • Any research work/project with substantive support by staff and their unit(s) should be acknowledged/included when the principal investigator (PI) submits an appropriate Institutional Review Board (IRB) protocol. For instance, if a UTHSC instructor conducts simulation events at CHIPS and plans to use simulation data for their research or scholarly work, CHIPS should be acknowledged/included as a data collection site in the submission of the IRB protocol.
  • Publication and Conference Presentation
    • When UTHSC instructors present any work at a local, national, or international conference that includes support from staff, the responsible staff and their unit(s) should be acknowledged/included in that conference presentation.  Similarly, when a UTHSC instructor is planning a manuscript for publication and that work includes substantive support from staff/unit(s), the responsible staff and their unit(s) should be included in the manuscript submission with the appropriate designation as indicated above.
  • Grants/Funds
    • If a UTHSC instructor plans to submit a research grant/funding application which may include substantive support from staff and their unit(s), the principal investigator should communicate with the staff and their unit(s) regarding an official agreement (e.g., a hard copy or written email) on attribution, percent effort on grants, and/or future shared authorship before they submit their grant/funding application.  Whether the project is funded or not, the responsible staff and their unit(s) should be informed of the final decision from the funding agency by the PI when such information is available.
  • Systematic Reviews
    • A systematic review is a protocol-driven, comprehensive literature review, usually designed to answer a specific clinical question.  If a UTHSC instructor wishes to enlist Library faculty in this process, they are asked to complete a systematic review protocol form with the library.  The library offers both basic and advanced assistance and outlines the nature of assistance and expectations for both tiers of service on the library homepage.
May 26, 2022