Credit local authors fairly on international research papers



Credit local authors fairly on international research papers

As co-signatories on a consensus statement released this month (see B. Morton et al. Anaesthesia; 2021), we call on all scientific journals to adopt a system that promotes fairness in author-contribution assessments for research done in low-to-middle-income countries by teams that include authors from institutions in high-income countries.

Our system consists of a structured reflexivity statement that asks authors a series of open-ended questions that broadly follow established authorship criteria (see These help to ensure that researchers from low- to-middle income countries and other disadvantaged groups, such as women and early-career researchers, are properly represented.

Progress in addressing such imbalances has been slow (A. I. Obasi Lancet 396, 651–653; 2020). For example, one-fifth of the papers describing COVID-19 in Africa contain no African authors and, of those that do, the first and last authors are almost always from high-income nations (A. V. Naidoo et al. BMJ Glob. Health 6, e004612; 2021).

Such reflexivity statements (see also Cell 184, 1–2; 2021 and will encourage inclusive and open discussion of issues affecting equity, including capacity strengthening and research legacy in host countries.

Nature 598, 415 (2021)


Competing Interests

The authors declare no competing interests.


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