It is essential that the researcher(s) and biostatistician(s) assigned to the project agree on criteria for authorship early in their collaboration to avoid any misunderstanding. YCAS adheres to a policy based on the requirements for authorship and contributorship by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) and also those recommended in published guidelines (Parker RA, Berman NG: Criteria for authorship for statisticians in medical papers. Statistics in Medicine 17: 2289-2299 (1998)), "The basis of financial support should be the time/effort spent on a project and the basis for authorship should be whether the statistician has made a scientific contribution to the project."
There is a general recognition for what constitutes a “scientific contribution” in the field of biostatistics. These include, but are not limited to the following:
- The statistician has developed new statistical methods to meet the project's needs, and/or has combined existing techniques in a novel manner.
- The statistician has participated in designing the study.
- The statistician writes part of the manuscript describing which statistical methods were used and/or assists in writing other sections of the manuscript—including revisions.
- The statistician is asked to review/critique an initial draft and spends time suggesting alternative wording and presentation of results.
- The statistician provides data analysis along with interpretation of results.
It is our policy that MS and PhD biostatisticians should not just be listed under acknowledgements if any of the above criteria have been met, but should be appropriately recognized with an authorship.