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Authorship Vice-Chancellor's Directive


This Directive sets out the requirements for the attribution of authorship and co-authorship for all UTS researchers.

This directive is also available as a PDF document.

  • Directive approved 15/04/2011
  • Directive takes effect 15/04/2011
  • Directive is due for review (up to five years) 04/2016
  • Directive amendment approved 19/02/2015
  • Directive amendment takes effect 11/03/2015
Approved by Vice-Chancellor
Implementation Officer Dean, Graduate Research School
Relevant to All researchers at UTS, including all staff, students, visiting, honorary and adjunct appointments and those employed as contractors.
Related documents
File number UR 10/983
Superseded documents None


1. Purpose

This Directive establishes the criteria for attribution of authorship and the protocols for acknowledging authorship. It seeks to avoid unnecessary conflict over ownership of and responsibility for research outcomes and provides a mechanism for resolving disputes. It also seeks to ensure that any research outcome arising from research undertaken at UTS is correctly affiliated to UTS.

2. Scope

This Directive applies to any person producing a research outcome based on research carried out under the auspices of the University of Technology, Sydney, whether that person is a student; a staff member; a person holding a visiting, honorary or adjunct appointment; or is employed as a contractor. Sections 5.4 and 6 of this Directive also apply to persons from other institutions producing a research outcome, where UTS expertise, resources, facilities or services contributed to that outcome.

3. Definitions

The outcomes of research can be made public in many forms, including but not limited to journal articles, conference papers, monographs, creative works and web based products.

Research in this context is understood broadly to encompass funded and unfunded research, research conducted by support staff and research which may or may not require ethical clearance.

Executive author, as defined in the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, is the person whose responsibility it is to record authorship and to manage communication about the research output with the publisher.

4. Directive principles

Authorship must be based on substantial scholarly contribution to the specific research project. The University acknowledges that researchers have a responsibility to acknowledge assistance and support for the research endeavour and does not permit the practice of honorary authorship.

5. Directive statements

5.1 Attributing authorship

Authorship should not be influenced by the relative power held by individuals involved in the research process, nor is it related to the amount of time someone has spent on routine work. Authorship must be based on substantial scholarly contribution to the work through the following:

  • conception and design of the research and the gathering of data
  • determination, analysis and interpretation of research data
  • drafting or revision of significant parts of the research output so as to contribute to the interpretation, and
  • final approval for the publication of the research output.

5.2 Multiple authors

Written agreements on authorship of research outcomes should be made in the early stages of a research project and these should be reviewed periodically during the course of the research work.

Where a work has several authors, one co-author should be nominated, by agreement among all the authors, as executive author for all of the research output of the research program. The executive author is responsible for the record keeping related to research outputs and for managing communication about research outputs with the publisher.

In fields where an author's position in an authorship list has significance, researchers should reach agreement on the following, before the preparation of any research output:

  • The principles that will be used to determine the sequence of authors on any given publication.
  • The sequence of authors for each publication.
  • The contribution of each author to the final research output in accordance with an author's position in the authorship list.

5.3 Acknowledgement in publications

It is essential to acknowledge assistance which does not meet the criteria for authorship. The conventions in a particular field of study will help to determine who should be acknowledged and how that acknowledgement should be made.

It is good practice to acknowledge the sources of funds which support the research work. The Australian Research Council requires such acknowledgement and provides useful suggestions on how such acknowledgement can be made.

5.4 Attribution of publication affiliation

It is essential that all publications arising from research undertaken at UTS (including access to expertise, resources, facilities or services within UTS) correctly attribute the University in the author bylines. For researchers holding honorary appointments at UTS, who have a primary affiliation to another university, the UTS affiliation should appear in addition to their primary affiliation, where the publishers' convention permits.

The correct byline wording should always begin with 'University of Technology Sydney', followed by any relevant faculty/centre information. To ensure that the University is correctly attributed to publications in all cases, the comma in the UTS name is to be excluded in publication bylines.

The following examples show how a publication should be attributed, where the publisher's convention permits. Centre/school/faculty and location are only used where space allows, as follows:

  • Researcher name, University of Technology Sydney, Centre name, Ultimo NSW 2007, Australia
  • Researcher name, University of Technology Sydney, Faculty, Ultimo NSW 2007, Australia.

Other wording for the institutional name (including centre/school/faculty or institute acronyms) or ordering of byline information is not acceptable, as this may result in the publication being mapped to another institution in external publications databases. For example, acronyms such as FASS (Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences) are not unique to this institution. Further, centre/school/faculty or institute names may change over time, making acronyms harder to identify.

5.5 Resolution of disputes

Disputes concerning authorship should be resolved through the processes outlined in the Code of Conduct, the Graduate Research and Supervision Policy and the Research Misconduct Vice-Chancellor's Directive.

6. Roles and responsibilities

Accountable officer: Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)

Implementation officer: Dean, Graduate Research School


  • must adhere to the criteria set down in this Directive and the principles of authorship identified in the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research and the University's Responsible Conduct of Research Policy
  • involved in collaborative projects should agree in writing on their status as an author of any publication resulting from research at an early stage in the collaboration and review that agreement during the course of the collaboration
  • must offer authorship to all those — including research trainees — who meet the criteria set out in section 5.1 of this Directive. Authorship should not be offered to those who do not meet those criteria, regardless of their status, role or the extent of their technical or other contribution
  • must ensure that all those who have contributed to the research, facilities or materials are properly acknowledged where discipline conventions permit
  • must cite their institutional affiliation as 'University of Technology Sydney' in any publication where UTS expertise, resources, facilities or services were utilised to generate research outcomes included in that publication
  • should ensure that their academic profiles on external databases such as Scopus, Web of Science, Google Scholar, Microsoft Academic, ResearcherID and ORCID accurately reflect their affiliation with the 'University of Technology Sydney'. In the case of UTS students and staff, their primary academic profile should identify the 'University of Technology Sydney' as their employer.

Research Officers nominated within each faculty/unit will oversee the implementation of this Directive in their local areas.

Other positions and committees: The Research and Innovation Office, Graduate Research School and UTS Library support this Directive and UTS researchers through training and reporting in relation to publications.

7. Acknowledgements

Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research

8. Version control and change history

Effective date Version Approved by, resolution no. (date) Amendment
15/04/2011 1 Vice-Chancellor (15/04/2011) Vice-Chancellor (15/04/2011)
01/01/2013 1.1 Council, COU/12-2/30.1 (18/04/2012) Changed the following reference:
• University Graduate School to Graduate Research School
in accordance with approved nomenclature changes.
11/03/2015 1.2 Vice-Chancellor (19/02/2015) Changes to purpose, scope, roles and responsibilities to align with the inclusion of section 5.4 on attribution of publication affiliation.