Authors publishing in JMIR journals must meet the criteria for authorship laid out in the definition of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which stipulates that authorship should be based on four criteria:
- Substantial contributions to the conception or 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.
Verification of Authorship Criteria
Authors ultimately confirm that they meet authorship criteria by signing the JMIR License to Publish form (see: Where can I find the publication forms for authors and where do I submit them?).
Contributors who meet fewer than all 4 of the above criteria for authorship should not be listed as authors but should be acknowledged in the Acknowledgements section of the manuscript. Examples of activities that alone (without other contributions) do not qualify a contributor for authorship are the acquisition of funding; general supervision of a research group or general administrative support; and writing assistance, technical editing, language editing, and proofreading. (see: Ghost, Guest or Honorary Authorship).
In addition to being accountable for the parts of the work they have done, an author should be able to identify which co-authors are responsible for specific other parts of the work. In addition, authors should have confidence in the integrity of the contributions of their co-authors.
If one author refuses to sign or cannot be tracked down to sign, they may not meet all authorship criteria. Special rules are applied if an author is incapacitated or deceased (see: Do all authors need to sign the Publication Form?).
Changing Listed Authors before Publication
See How to change authors after peer-review but before publication if authorship changes are required before publication. Any changes in authorship must be approved in writing by all of the original authors. Submission of a paper that all authors have not approved will result in immediate rejection without appeal.
Group Authorship and Collaborators
There is no maximum number of authors for a submission. However, if the number of authors is quite large (i.e., 15+), please do consider that you may also list authors as "study collaborators" (sometimes called non-author contributors). Authors can be listed as members of a group (collaborative) author (What is a group author (collaborative author) and does it need an ORCID? and What are "collaborators" and where should they be listed?). Only authors must sign the form, not individual collaborators (members of a group author).
Ghost, Guest or Honorary Authorship
JMIR Publications does not permit ghost, guest, or honorary authorship. Ghost authorship occurs when an individual has made author-level contributions to the paper but is not included in the author list. Guest or honorary authorship occurs when someone who has not met all authorship criteria is listed as an author. Individuals who have participated in the generation of the research paper but who do not meet the criteria for authorship should be listed in the Acknowledgments section with a brief description of the nature of their contribution.
NLM Technical Bulletin on "Study Collaborators"