Supplementary Guidelines on Responsibilities of Coauthors and Collaborators
(Adopted by Council on November 10, 2002)
(This statement includes language from the "Report of the Investigation Committee on the Possibility of Scientific Misconduct in the Work of Hendrick Schoen and Coauthors," M. Beasley, S. Datta, H. Kogelnik, H. Kroemer, D. Monroe, September 25, 2002 - internal Bell Laboratories report, Bell Labs, Lucent Technologies. The language is used with the permission of Bell Labs.)
All collaborators share some degree of responsibility for any paper they coauthor. Some coauthors have responsibility for the entire paper as an accurate, verifiable, report of the research. These include, for example, coauthors who are accountable for the integrity of the critical data reported in the paper, carry out the analysis, write the manuscript, present major findings at conferences, or provide scientific leadership for junior colleagues.
Coauthors who make specific, limited, contributions to a paper are responsible for them, but may have only limited responsibility for other results. While not all coauthors may be familiar with all aspects of the research presented in their paper, all collaborations should have in place an appropriate process for reviewing and ensuring the accuracy and validity of the reported results, and all coauthors should be aware of this process.
Every coauthor should have the opportunity to review the manuscript before its submission. All coauthors have an obligation to provide prompt retractions or correction of errors in published works. Any individual unwilling or unable to accept appropriate responsibility for a paper should not be a coauthor.
Supplementary Guideline on Research Results
(Adopted by Council on November 10, 2002)
Collaborations are expected to have a process to archive and verify the research record; to facilitate internal communication and allow all authors to be fully aware of the entire work; and respond to questions concerning the joint work and enable other responsible scientists to share the data. All members of a collaboration should be familiar with, and understand, the process.
Supplementary Guideline on References in Publications
(Adopted by Council, 30 April 2004)
Authors have an obligation to their colleagues and the physics community to include a set of references that communicates the precedents, sources, and context of the reported work. Proper referencing gives credit to those whose research has informed or led to the work in question, helps to avoid duplication of effort, and increases the value of a paper by guiding the reader to related materials. It is the responsibility of authors to have surveyed prior work in the area and to include relevant references.
Proper and complete referencing is an essential part of any physics research publication. Deliberate omission of a pertinent author or reference is unethical and unacceptable.
Other Professional Conduct Statements of interest include:
Other organizations with which many physicists are familiar such as the Sigma Xi, National Academies of Science and Engineering, and American Association for the Advancement of Science have publications ("The Responsible Researcher: Paths and Pitfall," from Sigma Xi which can be ordered at www.sigmaxi.org/programs/ethics/publications.shtml, and "On Being a Scientist: Responsible Conduct in Research," from the National Academy Press available at stills.nap.edu/html/obas) or programs (for AAAS, at www.aaas.org/spp/sfrl) on this subject. An online compilation for "engineers, scientists, and science and engineering students with resources useful for understanding and addressing ethically significant problems that arise in their work," can be found at The On Line Ethics Center for Engineering and Science (www.onlineethics.org).
An awareness of the ethical dilemmas that can occur in a professional career, and of the resources for understanding and resolving such problems, can help in avoiding ethical lapses or limit the damage that can arise from them. Students and mentors are especially reminded that an understanding of the ethical expectations of the physics community is an important part of a physics education.
(Original version adopted by Council on November 3, 1991)