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Physical Therapy

Authorship Policy

This policy outlines the Physical Therapy Department guidelines for authorship of disseminated scholarship on which faculty and/or students collaborated in the following key areas: 

  • Conception and design of the research 
  • Acquisition, analysis, and interpretation of the data 
  • Writing the manuscript and/or critically revising important content 
  • Approval of the version of the paper to be published 
  • Agreement to be accountable and to able to defend the content and validity of all parts of the scholarly project 

Each author must make an important contribution to many of the above key areas. An important contribution is one that supports the project at the level required for the successful completion of the manuscript for publication. Without this substantial contribution the project could not have been drafted and submitted for peer review and potential publication (AMA Manual of Style, page 89-90).

Definition of Authorship

The Physical Therapy Department describes authorship as being professionally accountable for the content and conclusions of disseminated scholarly work. All individuals designated as authors must make substantial contributions to key areas of the research process. These important contributions occur in collaboration with other faculty members and students.

Order of Authorship

Generally, authors who have made the most substantial contribution to the research project are listed first. Accordingly, authors should collaboratively decide on the order of authorship based on their contributions to each of the key areas above, which includes ongoing communication with the editors of the journal selected for dissemination. Typically, first authors organize the original manuscript submission and the revisions and responses to the editors' queries and edits from the contributing authors. In addition, the first author assumes primary responsibility of communicating directly with the editor throughout the publication process. 

Physical therapy students are rarely considered first author because they typically work with faculty members on the faculty member's "line" of research. Due to this, the core faculty member meets most of the key criteria for first author of the publications, (e.g., conception and design of the project). Although it may be possible for students to assume the role of first author, meeting the essential key criteria would be challenging and a rare occurrence.