Advocating for Authorship: Librarians and Information Professionals as Authors on Evidence Synthesis Publications

This blog post was coauthored by Emily A. Brennan.

Despite making significant intellectual contributions to systematic reviews and evidence synthesis publications, and meeting authorship criteria specified by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), librarians are frequently not granted authorship. MLA members requested that the MLA Board of Directors address this issue with ICMJE and develop a statement that individual librarians can use to advocate for authorship.

The MLA Board recently approved the Statement, “It’s Time to Acknowledge Authorship for Librarians and Information Professionals on Evidence Synthesis Publications,” in response to this issue of librarians not receiving authorship on evidence synthesis publications, such as guidelines and systematic reviews. This statement was developed in collaboration with the members making the initial request and incorporated feedback from prior chairs of the Systematic Review and Research caucuses, among others. (Download the Statement PDF)

The statement, which has been shared with ICJME, encourages guideline associations, journal editors, peer reviewers, and collaborators to ensure that all authors who meet ICMJE authorship criteria receive authorship credit for their contributions. Furthermore, we request that authorship guidance be revised to include specific examples of librarian contributions.

The Canadian Health Libraries Association / Association des bibliothèques de la santé du Canada (CHLA/ABSC) has co-signed the Statement, and we plan to ask other library and information professional organizations worldwide to add their support. Through discussion with our colleagues from other international organizations, we know this is a global and multidisciplinary issue.

We hope this MLA Statement raises awareness about, and ultimately increases, librarian co-authorship on evidence synthesis publications. We encourage all librarians and information professionals to use the Statement to advocate for recognition when their authorship is being questioned. Visit the new Authorship Statement landing page on MLANET for more information.