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Department of Communication & Journalism Protocol for Joint Authorship - Postgraduate Student - Staff

There are often cases where collaborative research by postgraduates and staff could culminate in publication. Yet in situations where two or more individuals are working together on a research project, the issue of authorship may become contentious. Normally those involved will be able to concur, but if there are differences of opinion, the following guidelines should assist the parties concerned to agree on authorship:

  1. Issues of authorship will be discussed at the outset of the research endeavour, but may not be settled until thesis completion. Issues of authorship should be discussed before the submission of the research proposal, and should be a continuous dialogue throughout the research process.
  2. In the case of supervised research the student will normally be the first author of any publications. If a period of more than one year elapses without effort on the part of the student to publish then the supervisor may assume principal authorship.
  3. A memorandum outlining the details of the agreement will be sent to the HOD or other appropriate person. This provides written documentation of the agreement that can be referred to later if necessary. It also allows for an impartial third party to review the agreement and determine if it is fair.
  4. The issue of authorship will be regularly reviewed throughout the course of the research. If the contributions of the parties involved should change then a new agreement may have to be negotiated.
  5. A meeting will be held before the finish of the initial draft for authorship and acknowledgements to be discussed with all those who have contributed to the work.
  6. The order of authors' names will normally depend on the extent to which they have contributed to the work. The co-authorship scoring system below may serve as a useful guide.
  7. This system uses a set of rules based on a simple points table. Each author is awarded the highest realistic score in each category. Whoever achieves a total of 25 points obtains joint authorship in rank order of score. In the event of ties, consider recent "near misses"; if none exists, use alphabetical order.
  8. There may be a need to adapt the guidelines to meet the specific requirements of the research. In this case, the need to have staff members' input clearly identified should be recognised.
  9. Any disputes that cannot be resolved should be referred to the Head of the Department.

Intellectual Input

(Planning/ designing/ interpreting)
No contribution 0
One detailed discussion 5
Several detailed discussions 10
Ongoing correspondence or longer meetings 15
Substantial liaison work 20
Closest possible involvement 25


Practical Input: Data-Capture

(Setting-up/ observing/ recording/ abstracting)
No contribution 0
Small contribution 5
Moderate indirect contribution 10
Moderate direct contribution 15
Major indirect contribution 20
Major direct contribution 25

Practical Input: Beyond Data Capture

(Data processing/ organising)
No contribution 0
Minor or brief assistance 5
Substantial or prolonged assistance 10


Specialised Input from Related Field

No contribution 0
Brief or routine advice 5
Specially-tailored assistance 10
Whole basis of approach 15

Literary Input

(Contribution to first complete draft of manuscript)
No contribution 0
Edited others' material 5
Contributed small sections 10
Contributed moderate proportion 15
Contributed majority 20
Contributed virtually all 25

We acknowledge a publication policy used at HortResearch which was helpful in the creation of this Department of Communication, Journalism and Marketing policy.




Memo to: Head, School of Communication, Journalism & Marketing




Date: [First meeting date] 

Subject: Our agreement on joint publishing


This is to record that [supervisor’s name] and [student’s name] have arrived at the following agreement on joint publishing from the research project:

[insert details]

Possible refereed journals as outlets for publications arising from this research include:







Elizabeth Eckhoff 
Personal Assistant/Administrator
Ph: +64 9 414 0800 Ext: 9495
Email: e.m.eckhoff@massey.ac.nz

Manawatu / Distance Learning

Te Muri Tatere-Beamsley

Programme Support Administrator 
Ph: +64 6 350 5799, extn 81323
Fax: +64 6 350 5889
Email: T.M.Tatere-Beamsley@massey.ac.nz


Michelle Laurenson
School Administrator

Ph: +64 (04) 801 5799 ext. 63540
Email: M.Laurenson@massey.ac.nz