The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends that authorship should meet the following four criteria at the same time:

  • having made substantial contributions to the conception, design, acquisition and analysis of data;
  • having made intellectual contribution to writing the manuscript or revising it;
  • final approval of the version to be published;
  • making a commitment to take full responsibility for the work, including investigating and resolving any issues that may arise regarding the accuracy or integrity of any portion of it.

All designated authors should meet all the four criteria, and all individuals who meet all the four criteria should be identified. As for those who do not meet all four criteria, they should be acknowledged in the Acknowledgments section. False authorship is severely prohibited, and if discovered will result in rejection of the submission, or harsher penalties (e.g., not accepting any submissions from involved authors for a certain number of years).

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and AI-assisted technologies should not be listed as an author. The details on how to use AI should be declared in the cover letter, and in the Acknowledgments section when AI was used for writing assistance, or in the Materials and Methods section when AI was used for data collection, analysis, figure generation, etc.

The information of at lease one corresponding author (usually no more than two) should be provided, who is responsible for communicating with journal editors during the whole article operation process. They should respond to editorial queries during the processing and also respond to comments after publication in a timely manner.

Alteration to authorship

The Editorial Office considers the authorship list is definitive by the time the original submission is received.

Any addition, deletion or rearrangement of author names in the authorship list should be made only before the manuscript is accepted for publication. The corresponding author should provide the reasons for the change in the authorship list and the proof of written confirmation from all authors (including the existing authors, author(s) to be added and/or removed) agreeing with such change, to the Editorial Office.

The requests for authorship changes need to be approved by the Editorial Office before any changes can be made. The COPE flowcharts of authorship and contributorship will be followed to handle ethical issues regarding authorship.

Author contributions

All listed authors should have made significant contributions to the work and approved the final submitted version. For research articles, authors are required to add the Author Contributions section (not applicable to one author). It should be a short, one paragraph statement giving the individual contribution of each co-author to the reported research and the writing of the paper.

The following statement is suggested to be used “Conceptualization, XX and YY; methodology, XX; software, XX; validation, XX, YY and ZZ; formal analysis, XX; investigation, XX; resources, XX; data curation, XX; writing—original draft preparation, XX; writing—review and editing, XX; visualization, XX; supervision, XX; project administration, XX; funding acquisition, YY. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.”