The CalculAuthor: determining authorship using a simple-to-use, fair, objective, and transparent process

Document Type



Medical College Pakistan; Emergency Medicine


Authorship determination on a research article remains a largely subjective process. Existing guidelines on authorship taxonomy lack objectivity and are more useful in determining who deserves authorship rather than determining the order of authors. To promote best practices in authorship taxonomy, we developed an authorship rubric that provides a fair, objective, and transparent means of crediting authorship. We christened this tool the "CalculAuthor". The following steps are to be undertaken to create a scoring system based on the requirements of the projects: determining creditable criteria, assigning credit weightages, deciding levels of contribution, determining each author's contribution, calculating authorship scores and ranking. These must be performed by or in close collaboration with the primary investigator (PI), with conflicts being resolved at the PI's discretion. All team members should be informed about the authorship determination process early in the project and their agreement regarding its use must be obtained. While the CalculAuthor was developed to be used in medical research, its customizability enables it to be employed in any field of academia. We recommend that the CalculAuthor be piloted within institutions before its mainstream adoption, and any institution-specific factors should be considered to make the process more efficient and suitable.


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Publication (Name of Journal)

BMC Research Notes