When beginning a research project, it is important for the project leader to facilitate forthright, open, and professional conversations with all potential authors about their contributions. Such conversations will help to set expectations about tasks and roles of each author while fostering positive working relationships and trust among the group. They will also ensure that all authors agree, prior to manuscript submission, about the author byline, author order, and identification of the corresponding author for any publications resulting from the work. Most journals send an email acknowledging manuscript submission to all authors listed on a manuscript to help ensure that all authors are aware of the submission. Because research roles and responsibilities may change during a project’s course, conversations about authorship should be revisited throughout the research.
Authorship changes, including addition or removal of authors or changing of the author order, after submission are strongly discouraged. However, in situations where changes are unavoidable, the corresponding author should alert the journal as early as possible and may be asked to secure written acknowledgment from all authors, especially those being added, removed, or impacted by the order change, that they are aware of and agree to the change. This documentation, along with an explanation as to why the changes have occurred, may be required by the journal. Even if not required, it is good practice to keep this documentation on file in the event of any authorship disputes after publication.