Method for establishing authorship in a multicenter clinical trial

Ann Intern Med. 2009 Sep 15;151(6):414-20. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-151-6-200909150-00006.


With the emergence of large multicenter trials over the past 20 years, the numbers of investigators involved and publications resulting from each study have grown exponentially. An efficient, fair, and effective way to establish authorship on study-related manuscripts could diminish conflict among the investigators and help ensure robust and timely dissemination of study results. This article describes a process developed by the investigators in the HF-ACTION (Heart Failure: A Controlled Trial Investigating Outcomes of Exercise Training) trial ( registration number: NCT00047437) to establish authorship of the manuscripts describing the baseline characteristics, study design, and trial outcomes in an equitable and transparent manner based on objective, quantifiable contributions to the study as a whole. The HF-ACTION investigators developed a scoring system that assigned points to investigators by using the criteria established for enrollment, adherence to the exercise program, data completion, committee service, and other trial efforts. The scoring system has been successfully implemented for baseline manuscripts and has allowed many investigators to participate in the HF-ACTION publication process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Authorship*
  • Humans
  • Multicenter Studies as Topic*
  • Publishing / standards
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic*

Associated data