A policy toolkit for authorship and dissemination policies may benefit NIH research consortia

Linda Brubaker, Jesse Nodora, Tamara Bavendam, John E Connett, Amy M. Claussen, Cora E. Lewis, Kyle Rudser, Siobhan Sutcliffe, Jean F Wyman, Janis M. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Authorship and dissemination policies vary across NIH research consortia. We aimed to describe elements of real-life policies in use by eligible U01 clinical research consortia. Principal investigators of eligible, active U01 clinical research projects identified in the NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools database shared relevant policies. The characteristics of key policy elements, determined a priori, were reviewed and quantified, when appropriate. Twenty one of 81 research projects met search criteria and provided policies. K elements (e.g., in quotations): “manuscript proposals reviewed and approved by committee” (90%); “guidelines for acknowledgements” (86%); “writing team formation” (71%); “process for final manuscript review and approval” (71%), “responsibilities for lead author” (67%), “guidelines for other types of publications” (67%); “draft manuscript review and approval” (62%); “recommendation for number of members per consortium site” (57%); and “requirement to identify individual contributions in the manuscript” (19%). Authorship/dissemination policies for large team science research projects are highly variable. Creation of an NIH policies repository and accompanying toolkit with model language and recommended key elements could improve comprehensiveness, ethical integrity, and efficiency in team science work while reducing burden and cost on newly funded consortia and directing time and resources to scientific endeavors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAccountability in Research
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Typical of other large NIH team science groups, PLUS includes multiple clinical centers, a data-coordinating center, and over 40 investigators Harlow et al. (). Based on experience and knowledge of existing practices, the authors reached consensus on a list of 18 key elements to use to evaluate team science authorship and dissemination policies. We focused on existing NIH-funded U01 clinically focused research consortia (U01-ClinRes-Consortia). Characteristics of consortia of interest included award size, grant recipient, year of funding and research focus. The eligibility characteristics were determined by consensus amongst the investigators to approximate the work of the PLUS Research Consortium most closely, in order to inform the authorship and dissemination practices for our team science. We focused on consortia, whose members were higher educational organization in the US with award sizes of $300,000 or higher. We further focused on a generous funding to dissemination interval, with funding in fiscal year 2014 (award notice date earlier than 30 April 2014) to allow sufficient time for consortia to have developed and revised authorship policies and produced team science publication. We narrowed our search criteria to consortia with a clinical research focus in order to align more closely with PLUS. Clinical studies could include cross-sectional surveys, case-control studies, cohort (longitudinal) studies, or qualitative studies.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Author contributions
  • author responsibilities
  • corporate authorship
  • external authorship
  • guidelines
  • publication duplication
  • writing teams

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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