Authorship of all scientific papers (including Cochrane protocols and reviews) establishes accountability, responsibility and credit (Rennie 1997, Flanagin 1998, Rennie 1998). When deciding who should appear in the by-line of a Cochrane review, it is important to distinguish individuals who have made a substantial contribution to the review (and who should be listed) and those who have helped in other ways, which should be noted in the Acknowledgements section. Authorship should be based on substantial contributions to all of the following three steps, based on the ‘Uniform requirements for manuscripts submitted to biomedical journals’ (International Committee of Medical Journal Editors 2006). Authors must sign a ‘License for Publication’ form that affirms the following three contributions:
Conception and design of study, or analysis and interpretation of data
Drafting the review or commenting on it critically for intellectual content
Final approval of the document to be published.
The specific contributions should be listed under the section ‘Contributions of authors’ (see below). The list of authors can be the name of an individual, several individuals, a collaborative group (for example, ‘Advanced Bladder Cancer Overview Collaboration’) or a combination of one or more authors and a collaborative group. Ideally, the order of authors should relate to their relative contributions to the review. The person who contributed most should be listed first.