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“Conferring Authorship”: Biobank Stakeholders’ Experiences with Publication Credit in Collaborative Research
Published: Monday, September 30, 2013
Author: Flora M. A. Colledge et al.

by Flora M. A. Colledge, Bernice S. Elger, David M. Shaw


Multi-collaborator research is increasingly becoming the norm in the field of biomedicine. With this trend comes the imperative to award recognition to all those who contribute to a study; however, there is a gap in the current “gold standard” in authorship guidelines with regards to the efforts of those who provide high quality biosamples and data, yet do not play a role in the intellectual development of the final publication.

Methods and findings

We carried out interviews with 36 individuals working in, or with links to, biobanks in Switzerland, in order to understand how they interpret, apply and value authorship criteria in studies involving biosamples. The majority of respondents feel that authorship is an important motivating factor in working and publishing collaboratively. However, our findings suggest that in some cases, authorship guidelines are being ignored in favor of departmental standards which recognize “scientific work” as meriting authorship.


Our results support the current calls in the literature for an alternative method of crediting biomaterial contributions, in order to ensure appropriate authorship inclusion and promote collaborative research involving biobanks.