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How to Write a Research Paper

Writing a research paper is a bit more difficult that a standard high school essay. You need to site sources, use academic data and show scientific examples. Before beginning, you’ll need guidelines for how to write a research paper.

Start the Research Process

Before you begin writing the research paper, you must do your research. It is important that you understand the subject matter, formulate the ideas of your paper, create your thesis statement and learn how to speak about your given topic in an authoritative manner. You’ll be looking through online databases, encyclopedias, almanacs, periodicals, books, newspapers, government publications, reports, guides and scholarly resources. Take notes as you discover new information about your given topic. Also keep track of the references you use so you can build your bibliography later and cite your resources.

Develop Your Thesis Statement

When organizing your research paper, the thesis statement is where you explain to your readers what they can expect, present your claims, answer any questions that you were asked or explain your interpretation of the subject matter you’re researching. Therefore, the thesis statement must be strong and easy to understand. Your thesis statement must also be precise. It should answer the question you were assigned, and there should be an opportunity for your position to be opposed or disputed. The body of your manuscript should support your thesis, and it should be more than a generic fact.

Create an Outline

Many professors require outlines during the research paper writing process. You’ll find that they want outlines set up with a title page, abstract, introduction, research paper body and reference section. The title page is typically made up of the student’s name, the name of the college, the name of the class and the date of the paper. The abstract is a summary of the paper. An introduction typically consists of one or two pages and comments on the subject matter of the research paper. In the body of the research paper, you’ll be breaking it down into materials and methods, results and discussions. Your references are in your bibliography. Use a research paper example to help you with your outline if necessary.

Organize Your Notes

When writing your first draft, you’re going to have to work on organizing your notes first. During this process, you’ll be deciding which references you’ll be putting in your bibliography and which will work best as in-text citations. You’ll be working on this more as you develop your working drafts and look at more white paper examples to help guide you through the process.

Write Your Final Draft

After you’ve written a first and second draft and received corrections from your professor, it’s time to write your final copy. By now, you should have seen an example of a research paper layout and know how to put your paper together. You’ll have your title page, abstract, introduction, thesis statement, in-text citations, footnotes and bibliography complete. Be sure to check with your professor to ensure if you’re writing in APA style, or if you’re using another style guide.


corresponding author scientific paper

corresponding author scientific paper

  • Publication Recognition

What is a Corresponding Author?

  • 3 minute read

Table of Contents

Are you familiar with the terms “corresponding author” and “first author,” but you don’t know what they really mean? This is a common doubt, especially at the beginning of a researcher’s career, but easy to explain: fundamentally, a corresponding author takes the lead in the manuscript submission for publication process, whereas the first author is actually the one who did the research and wrote the manuscript.

The order of the authors can be arranged in whatever order suits the research group best, but submissions must be made by the corresponding author. It can also be the case that you don’t belong in a research group, and you want to publish your own paper independently, so you will probably be the corresponding author and first author at the same time.

Corresponding author meaning:

The corresponding author is the one individual who takes primary responsibility for communication with the journal during the manuscript submission, peer review, and publication process. Normally, he or she also ensures that all the journal’s administrative requirements, such as providing details of authorship, ethics committee approval, clinical trial registration documentation, and gathering conflict of interest forms and statements, are properly completed, although these duties may be delegated to one or more co-authors.

Generally, corresponding authors are senior researchers or group leaders with some – or a lot of experience – in the submission and publishing process of scientific research. They are someone who has not only contributed to the paper significantly but also has the ability to ensure that it goes through the publication process smoothly and successfully.

What is a corresponding author supposed to do?

A corresponding author is responsible for several critical aspects at each stage of a study’s dissemination – before and after publication.

If you are a corresponding author for the first time, take a look at these 6 simple tips that will help you succeed in this important task:

  • Ensure that major deadlines are met
  • Prepare a submission-ready manuscript
  • Put together a submission package
  • Get all author details correct
  • Ensure ethical practices are followed
  • Take the lead on open access

In short, the corresponding author is the one responsible for bringing research (and researchers) to the eyes of the public. To be successful, and because the researchers’ reputation is also at stake, corresponding authors always need to remember that a fine quality text is the first step to impress a team of peers or even a more refined audience. Elsevier’s team of language and translation professionals is always ready to perform text editing services that will provide the best possible material to go forward with a submission or/and a publication process confidently.

Who is the first author of a scientific paper?

The first author is usually the person who made the most significant intellectual contribution to the work. That includes designing the study, acquiring and analyzing data from experiments and writing the actual manuscript. As a first author, you will have to impress a vast group of players in the submission and publication processes. But, first of all, if you are in a research group, you will have to catch the corresponding author’s eye. The best way to give your work the attention it deserves, and the confidence you expect from your corresponding author, is to deliver a flawless manuscript, both in terms of scientific accuracy and grammar.

If you are not sure about the written quality of your manuscript, and you feel your career might depend on it, take full advantage of Elsevier’s professional text editing services. They can make a real difference in your work’s acceptance at each stage, before it comes out to the public.

Language Editing Services by Elsevier Author Services:

Through our Language Editing Services , we correct proofreading errors, and check for grammar and syntax to make sure your paper sounds natural and professional. We also make sure that editors and reviewers can understand the science behind your manuscript.

With more than a hundred years of experience in publishing, Elsevier is trusted by millions of authors around the world.

Check our video Elsevier Author Services – Language Editing to learn more about Author Services.

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First Author vs. Corresponding Author? How to Decide Which to Choose

This article discusses the importance of authorship in academic publishing. The first author executes a large portion of the work throughout the research process and signifies the researcher has provided the greatest intellectual contribution. The corresponding author is explicitly identified on the first page of the manuscript, is selected to further manage the pre and post-publication responsibilities, and serves as the point of contact for communication with a journal during the submission, peer review, and publication process.

Updated on April 26, 2023

2 researchers deciding authorship roles on an academic manuscript

Every process is conducted through a series of steps. The Scientific Method, for example, provides guidelines for navigating the research process and generally includes:

  • Making observations
  • Identifying a problem
  • Formulating a hypothesis
  • Designing an experiment
  • Analyzing the data
  • Reporting a conclusion

While the actual procedures may vary between fields, the underlying process remains intact. The same holds true for the publication process:

  • Complete your research
  • Choose a journal
  • Prepare the manuscript
  • Submit the manuscript
  • Make any revisions
  • Publication

Each of these processes contains many more specific steps and processes, including assigning authorship to the research manuscript . This article outlines the importance of authorship, delineates the meanings of first author and corresponding author, and addresses some of the challenges associated with the process.

Why is authorship important?

On the surface, the positioning of a researcher’s name and title on a manuscript seems straightforward, a simple task. Most lay people use the list of names solely for searching and citation purposes.

In reality, though, the order of those names tells a complex story of authorship. It is, in fact, the primary way for a researcher to convey the extent of their contribution to the reader.

To attain authorship on a manuscript, a researcher must not only contribute substantially to the work but also take responsibility and accountability for the information it contains. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends authorship be based on 4 specific criteria related to these broad principles.

With authorship comes both recognition and obligation that have important academic, social, and financial implications. The two most prominent authorship positions are first author and corresponding author .

What is the first author?

The first author position is a coveted spot. No matter how many other authors’ names appear on the manuscript or which referencing style is used, the first author’s last name will be mentioned in every future citation of the work.

For this reason alone, the name of the first author is remembered, indexed, and promoted more than any other. It is not just a status symbol, though. The first author executes a large portion or majority of the work throughout the research process.

First author credit signifies the researcher has provided the greatest intellectual contribution, and, therefore, comes with substantial benefits. The manuscripts of first authors hold substantial value for grant and position applications, staff appraisals and reviews, and many other forms of career development.

First author duties

The designation as first author is not based on academic or professional hierarchy, the prestige, or expertise of the author. It’s based on the inputs and outputs of work. First authors must:

  • Make significant, original, and insightful intellectual contributions
  • Participate in the conception and planning of the study
  • Generate data through performing experiments, conducting literature reviews, and organizing surveys and interviews
  • Analyze the results through statistical analysis and by generating graphs, tables, and illustrations
  • Write and edit the manuscript
  • Help with queries and revisions after submission

The researcher fulfilling all these duties is rightfully the first author.

What is the corresponding author?

Like the first author designation, the title of corresponding author also comes with considerable prestige. The corresponding author is explicitly identified on the first page of the manuscript. In addition to meeting all the preexisting authorship requirements, this person is selected to further manage the pre and post-publication responsibilities.

The corresponding author is customarily a senior researcher or academic with extensive publishing knowledge and experience. As the primary source of communication for both the publisher and the readers, the corresponding author’s contact information is included within the article.

The corresponding author must have exceptional communication skills. The role assumes primary responsibility for connecting with target journals. They must be organized and meticulous with the substantial volume of tasks associated with the position.

Corresponding author duties

Neither electing a corresponding author nor accepting the position should be taken lightly as it is an essential and long lasting obligation. The duties span from prior to publication to well afterwards and include:

corresponding author duties

While all corresponding authors serve as the point of contact for communication with a journal during the submission, peer review, and publication process, some journals outline additional conditions for the role. The National Academy of Sciences offers a table that compiles the corresponding author requirements for various journals.

What if there are authorship disputes or changes?

While openly discussing and defining a research team’s roles during the initial planning phase is vital for curbing authorship disputes, combining this practice with other forward-thinking acts is key. Responsibilities and work status must be addressed during regularly scheduled meetings and special meetings need to be called when a team member is added or ends involvement in the project.

How to avoid authorship disputes

To avoid disputes, teams start by mapping out the most obvious roles, author and non-author contributor, and by rejecting any proposed “non-role.” The input of non-author contributors is narrow in scope, providing technical, administrative or writing assistance, and does not fulfill the previously outlined authorship criteria.

A non-role is any inappropriate or irrelevant participant who will harm the research process, such as unethical types of authors . This category encompasses guest authors, forged authors, ghost authors, and orphan authors and must be avoided at all costs.

Many journals require a document be included with the submission package to delineate author contributions to explain and justify author order. By creating this list as a living document from the outset, a research team fulfills the prerequisite for the publisher and guarantees transparency and fairness throughout.

Because changing authorship after publication is messy, necessitating specific documentation, signatures, and approval, it is frowned upon by journal editors. While taking proactive steps to avoid disputes that may result in this situation saves the research team time and hassle, it does not always alleviate future changes.

The addition, removal, or reordering of authors on a manuscript while actively going through the publication process requires a letter signed by all original and additional authors stating the reason for the change and their mutual agreement. For changes made after publication, an authorship corrigendum must be submitted by all authors per COPE guidelines .

Final thoughts

Getting to the manuscript writing and publication stages of a research project are exciting milestones for everyone involved. Ideally, authorship roles are clearly defined and assigned at this point.

Though the first author and corresponding author positions are sometimes performed by the same person, the obligations of each are unique. The first author undertakes the bulk of work duties and makes a significant intellectual contribution to the research project. The corresponding author carries out the communication and administrative tasks necessary for publishing the manuscript.

Both roles are vital to the research and publication processes. They require intense labor and responsibility. With this comes great recognition and prestige for first authors and corresponding authors.

Charla Viera, MS, Library and Information Science Texas Woman's University

Charla Viera, MS

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corresponding author scientific paper

How to Decide the First Author and Corresponding Author in a Manuscript

corresponding author scientific paper

When a scholarly/academic paper is produced, the researchers participating in the work must assign a first author and corresponding author. This is a challenging decision and sometimes there’s conflict because the positions can also indicate status (whether real or perceived).

The first author and corresponding author, ideally, are decided during the research and through a mutual agreement among the authors. It’s made based on an understanding of the role and significance of the positions. The author order generally indicates the amount of contribution.

The first author is considered to have contributed more than the second author, and so forth, until reaching the author in the last position. A shared first author (co-first author) or shared corresponding author (co-corresponding author), however, isn’t out of the question.

The last position may also be prestigious – considered the senior author or principal investigator. One of the authors in the list will also be the corresponding author. This means they coordinate the publication process (such as arranging editing and communicating with the journal and with other inquiries) and have their contact information shown upfront in the work.

  • What you’ll learn in this post
  • The differences between first author and corresponding author (and what’s a senior author?).
  • How first author and corresponding author are defined.
  • How to fairly determine which author(s) will fulfill which role(s).
  • When and why the same person might fulfill both roles.

Determining the author order

What defines the first author, some of the main duties of a first author are:, what defines a corresponding author, some of the corresponding author’s main duties are:, and who is the senior author, a few words on guarantors, can the first and the corresponding authors be the same person, how do you decide who does what role what are the potential ethical issues.

The order of authors should reasonably correspond to how the authors contributed to the work. It also implies specific credit and responsibilities that go with being in these positions. Working it out over a cup of tea or coffee as soon as possible can help to avoid disputes, and even mediation , later on.

The issue of determining a senior author is also a bit challenging. You need to understand these roles and responsibilities. Don’t just think about who gets the most credit.

Publishing in a scientific journal or any peer-reviewed publication, including preprints and poster presentations , makes research visible to the greater public. It brings discoveries and insights into the eyes of the main experts around the world. This, in turn, builds the author’s reputation as a researcher.

Having a good list of published papers can also help achieve some career goals, such as getting a degree, a promotion or, as a scientist, getting funding to continue with research. The number of first-author papers may also be looked upon as a positive metric.

An “author” (having authorship) of a paper must meet certain criteria for their contributions. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICJME) guidelines state authorship must at least include:

  • made substantial contributions to work
  • approved the final version
  • assumed responsibility and accountability for what is published

However, while the minimum requirements for authorship are generally agreed upon, the credit/responsibility given to a specific author list isn’t so clear. The position on the list can determine the author’s expected duties and show the readers how the author contributed to the work.

So let’s take a deeper look at the definitions of these positions. Hopefully, this will help in your decision-making process. It may in fact affect your future career and status.

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corresponding author scientific paper

The first author is usually the person who makes the greatest practical/intellectual contributions to the work.

This person might have co-authors’ assistance with specific tasks, but they are the main responsible one for acquiring and analyzing the data, and for writing the final manuscript.

The first position in the authorship list of a paper is the most attractive one. First authors will have their (last) name mentioned in every future citation of the work, no matter how many other authors there are.

There can also be co-first authors. This is common in projects that require different areas of expertise. It’s also used where it’s hard to figure out who made a larger contribution. Two or even three authors can be listed as equal contributors.

The co-first authors are denoted by an asterisk or other symbol (for example, “ Author A*, Author B*, Author C, Author D.. ”) and a note on the first page.

But even then, the person listed first will continue to be the most visible. This is because of how citations are created. To give equal credit to both first authors, an alternative is to cite the paper as “ Author A & Author B et al .”., instead of “ Author A et al. ”

  • Make intellectual contributions to the work. Participate in the conception and planning of the study; define aims and trace a methodological approach to achieve them.
  • Generate the data. For instance, perform experiments, conduct literature reviews, write programming code, etc.
  • Analyze the results. Generate graphs , tables , and illustrations to convey the data, and perform statistical analyses when needed.
  • Write and edit the manuscript.
  • Help the corresponding author with referees’ queries when the paper is under revision.

Choosing authors in a manuscript

The corresponding author is responsible for bringing together the manuscript, and for the whole process of submitting it to a journal, up to (hopefully!) final acceptance. Of course, the corresponding author also must meet the academic authorship requirements.

The ICJME defines a corresponding author as someone who takes primary responsibility for communication with the journal during the manuscript submission, peer review, and publication process.

In that sense, the corresponding author is also responsible for ensuring that all the journal’s administrative requirements are fulfilled. This can include providing documents related to ethics committee approval, data and signatures from all authors, and conflict of interest (COI) statements.

In line with this, the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) says the corresponding author should be someone willing to fulfill all obligations the journal stipulates ( COPE Discussion Document , 2014).

The corresponding author’s contact details are included in the article. This makes them the representative for inquiries about the work. A good corresponding author must therefore be readily available. All communications with journals or readers should be done in a timely way.

English ability is also a big help if you’re the corresponding author and you want to publish in English. You’re usually the person whom I , as the editor, will be communicating with when you choose an editing service.

  • Certify the manuscript contains all the necessary parts, it is appropriately organized, and it complies with the journal’s requirements. Upload the manuscript and other files.
  • Make sure all authors have reviewed and approved the final version of the manuscript before submission. Get signed consent.
  • Be in charge of all communications related to the paper. Distribute notifications to all authors (e.g., emails, peer review feedback , decision letters).
  • Meet all deadlines,­ communicate with the authors and editors efficiently, and follow time schedules for publication.
  • Ensure all editorial and submission policies are followed.

Note: Although there’s common sense on the main roles of a corresponding author, some of the responsibilities involved can change from one journal to another (e.g., see this list , created by the National Academy of Sciences, with different journals and their respective requirements).

The senior author is the person who provides the intellectual input and helps to design the study and the protocols to be followed. This is especially because they’re experts in that field of research.

They are also sometimes the financial driving force behind the study and generally supervise several projects. For these reasons, they are also known as the “ principal investigator .” They usually have broad experience in publishing processes, and their names appear in the last positions of the author list.

Honestly, the senior author is often the lab leader or simply the person in charge. For the work they’ve put into this to date, they earned this honor.

Some journals now ask for one author on a paper to be listed as a guarantor. The guarantor:

  • accepts official responsibility for the overall integrity of the manuscript (including ethics, data handling, reporting of results, and study conduct)
  • does not act as the primary correspondent for the manuscript
  • ensures all statements in the manuscript are true to his knowledge

The guarantor can be the same as the corresponding author, or can be another of the authors.

It’s often recommended that the Principal Investigator or Senior Researcher on a manuscript act as the guarantor as they will be responsible for the study supervision already; however, this is not explicitly required.

Yes, first authors can also be corresponding authors in a manuscript. In fact, it’s quite common.

The main conflict here is when authors equate being a corresponding author with seniority. Senior authors are often viewed as the perfect corresponding authors because of all the qualities they have, as mentioned.

However, as discussed, a corresponding author is charged with communicating with editors and readers only. Journal editors usually see this as an administrative role. Therefore, the corresponding author doesn’t necessarily have to be the seniormost author.

While there’s a special responsibility involved in this role, it’s not supposed to be a mark of distinction. Also, most senior authors will probably have less available time to reply to queries during the submission review process. And they may not have time to respond to reader queries in the future.

So, first authors should be expected to serve as corresponding authors. This is the case as long as they’re consistently involved in the study and know-how to go through the submission/publication process.

This includes deciding on the need for scientific editing if the English needs improving. The role can also help them gain experience in corresponding with journals and general readers.

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Even when the first and corresponding authors aren’t the same person some of their duties can be shared.

While a corresponding author can help the first author, or main author, with data analysis, for example, the first author can help the corresponding author prepare the documents for submission.

The same applies to other authors. Deciding who does what role should be clearly discussed and defined beforehand. Ideally, researchers involved in the study should have regular meetings to clarify responsibilities and update the status of the work. New co-authors may be included and other members may end their involvement along the way. Doing this planning may help prevent conflicts regarding academic authorship and help manage any disputes (Albert & Wager, 2009).

There are many possible reasons for conflict (you can find many examples of real cases on COPE’s website ). Disputes around first authorship are more common because this is the most prestigious position and an important measure of productivity. This happens, for example, when two authors both claim they contributed the most. This issue can be solved by proposing co-first authorship, or by using a system to quantify their contributions and then decide who should go first.

There can also be disagreements when the senior author wants to be the first author, or main author. For example, they may need more or higher-impact publications as the first author. Or they wrote the manuscript and believe this entitles them to be the first author.

Disputes on who will be the corresponding author are less likely. That’s because the role, as mentioned, doesn’t have any special distinction other than a visible name and contact. However, some senior authors may still want this role and occasionally there’s some conflict.

Ideally, the corresponding author should be decided among the others. It’s also possible to share the position, have shared corresponding authors; e.g. both the first and senior authors are co-corresponding authors. This may actually work out well if one is available and the other isn’t.

Every participant should feel free to seek clarity throughout the collaboration. Consider having a written document ( see this example PDF file on APA) in place as guidance ( COPE Discussion Document , 2014; Guidelines on Authorship and Acknowledgement , n.d.).

Before publication, authors should reunite to check the previous responsibilities list and create a final version of the documents. This includes detailed information on the type and extent of the contribution of each person involved. For categories of contributions, see the Contributor Roles Taxonomy [CRediT] website (McNutt et al., 2018). To quantify contributions, different proposed systems can be found in the literature (APA, for example, proposed a scorecard – see their Helpful Tools files).

As several journals now request and publish information about each author’s contributions, such documents can be essential. This can help in creating standards that will improve transparency in the system of scientific publishing. That, in turn, greatly reduces ethical concerns and authorship disputes.

Our Publication Support team is ready to hear from you if you want to accelerate your path to publication. And explore valuable research services that can help increase your impact and avoid ethical mishaps.

This is a guest post from Adam Goulston, PsyD, MBA, MS, MISD, ELS. Adam runs the Asia-based science marketing and PR company Scize . He has worked as an in-house Senior Language Editor, as well as a manuscript editor, with Edanz.

Albert, T., & Wager, E. (2009). How to handle authorship disputes: A guide for new researchers. Committee on Publication Ethics.

COPE Discussion Document: Authorship. (2014). Committee on Publication Ethics.

Guidelines on Authorship and Acknowledgement. (n.d.). Retrieved from

McNutt, M. K., Bradford, M., Drazen, J. M., Hanson, B., Howard, B., Jamieson, K. H., Kiermer, V., Marcus, E., Pope, B. K., Schekman, R., Swaminathan, S., Stang, P. J., & Verma, I. M. (2018). Transparency in authors’ contributions and responsibilities to promote integrity in scientific publication. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115(11), 2557-2560.

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Defining authorship in your research paper

Co-authors, corresponding authors, and affiliations, quick links, why does authorship matter.

Authorship gives credit and implies accountability for published work, so there are academic, social and financial implications.

It is very important to make sure people who have contributed to a paper, are given credit as authors. And also that people who are recognized as authors, understand their responsibility and accountability for what is being published.

There are a couple of types of authorship to be aware of.

Co-author Any person who has made a significant contribution to a journal article. They also share responsibility and accountability for the results of the published research.

Corresponding author If more than one author writes an article, you’ll choose one person to be the corresponding author. This person will handle all correspondence about the article and sign the publishing agreement on behalf of all the authors. They are responsible for ensuring that all the authors’ contact details are correct, and agree on the order that their names will appear in the article. The authors also will need to make sure that affiliations are correct, as explained in more detail below.

Open access publishing

There is increasing pressure on researchers to show the societal impact of their research.

Open access can help your work reach new readers, beyond those with easy access to a research library.

How common is co-authorship and what are the challenges collaborating authors face? Our white paper  Co-authorship in the Humanities and Social Sciences: A global view explores the experiences of 894 researchers from 62 countries.

If you are a named co-author, this means that you:

Made a significant contribution to the work reported. That could be in the conception, study design, execution, acquisition of data, analysis and interpretation, or in all these areas.

Have drafted or written, substantially revised or critically reviewed the article.

Have agreed on the journal to which the article will be submitted.

Reviewed and agreed on all versions of the article before submission, during revision, the final version accepted for publication, and any significant changes introduced at the proofing stage.

Agree to take responsibility and be accountable for the contents of the article. Share responsibility to resolve any questions raised about the accuracy or integrity of the published work.

corresponding author scientific paper

Every submission to our medical and health science journals should comply with the International Committee on Medical Journal Ethics’  definition of authorship .

Please include any other form of specific personal contribution in the acknowledgments section of your paper.

Affiliations: get it right

Vector illustration of a female character holding a large magnifying glass and smiling.

Your affiliation in the manuscript should be the institution where you conducted the research. You should also include details of any funding received from that institution.

If you have changed affiliation since completing the research, your new affiliation can be acknowledged in a note. We can’t normally make changes to affiliation after the journal accepts your article.

Changes to authorship

Authorship changes post-submission should only be made in exceptional circumstances, and any requests for authors to be removed or added must be in line with our authorship criteria.  

If you need to make an authorship change, you will need to contact the Journal Editorial Office or Editorial team in the first instance. You will be asked to complete our Authorship Change request form ; all authors (including those you are adding or removing) must sign this form. This will be reviewed by the Editor (and in some instances, the publisher). 

Please note any authorship change is at the Editor’s discretion; they have the right to refuse any authorship change they do not believe conforms with our authorship policies. 

Some T&F journals do not allow any authorship changes post-submission; where this is applicable, this will be clearly indicated on the journal homepage or on the ‘instructions for authors’ page. 

If the corresponding author changes before the article is published (for example, if a co-author becomes the corresponding author), you will need to write to the editor of the journal and the production editor. You will need to confirm to them that both authors have agreed the change.

Requested changes to the co-authors or corresponding authors following publication of the article may be considered, in line with the  authorship guidelines issued by COPE , the Committee on Publication Ethics. Please  see our corrections policy  for more details. Any requests for changes must be made by submitting the completed  Authorship Change Request form .

Authorship Change Request form

Important: agree on your corresponding author and the order of co-authors, and check all affiliations and contact details before submitting.

Taylor & Francis Editorial Policies on Authorship

The following instructions (part of our  Editorial Policies ) apply to all Taylor & Francis Group journals.

Corresponding author

Co-authors must agree on who will take on the role of corresponding author. It is then the responsibility of the corresponding author to reach consensus with all co-authors regarding all aspects of the article, prior to submission. This includes the authorship list and order, and list of correct affiliations.

The corresponding author is also responsible for liaising with co-authors regarding any editorial queries. And, they act on behalf of all co-authors in any communication about the article throughout: submission, peer review, production, and after publication. The corresponding author signs the publishing agreement on behalf of all the listed authors.

AI-based tools and technologies for content generation

Authors must be aware that using AI-based tools and technologies for article content generation, e.g. large language models (LLMs), generative AI, and chatbots (e.g. ChatGPT), is not in line with our authorship criteria.

All authors are wholly responsible for the originality, validity and integrity of the content of their submissions. Therefore, LLMs and other similar types of tools do not meet the criteria for authorship.

Changes in authorship

Any changes in authorship prior to or after publication must be agreed upon by all authors – including those authors being added or removed. It is the responsibility of the corresponding author to obtain confirmation from all co-authors and to provide a completed Authorship Change Request form to the editorial office.

If a change in authorship is necessary after publication, this will be amended via a post-publication notice. Any changes in authorship must comply with our criteria for authorship. And requests for significant changes to the authorship list, after the article has been accepted, may be rejected if clear reasons and evidence of author contributions cannot be provided.

Assistance from scientific, medical, technical writers or translators

Contributions made by professional scientific, medical or technical writers, translators or anyone who has assisted with the manuscript content, must be acknowledged. Their source of funding must also be declared.

They should be included in an ‘Acknowledgments’ section with an explanation of their role, or they should be included in the author list if appropriate.

Authors are advised to consult the  joint position statement  from American Medical Writers Association (AMWA), European Medical Writers Association (EMWA), and International Society of Medical Publication Professionals (ISMPP).

Assistance with experiments and data analysis

Any significant contribution to the research reported, should be appropriately credited according to our authorship criteria.

If any parts of the research were outsourced to professional laboratories or to data analysts, this should be clearly stated within the manuscript, alongside an explanation of their role. Or, they should be included in the author list if appropriate.

Authors are responsible for retaining all of the original data related to their work, and should be prepared to share it with the journal editorial office if requested.

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Any individuals who have contributed to the article (for example, technical assistance, formatting-related writing assistance, translators, scholarly discussions which significantly contributed to developing the article), but who do not meet the criteria for authorship, should be listed by name and affiliation in an ‘Acknowledgments’ section.

It is the responsibility of the authors to notify and obtain permission from those they wish to identify in this section. The process of obtaining permission should include sharing the article, so that those being identified can verify the context in which their contribution is being acknowledged.

Any assistance from AI tools for content generation (e.g. large language models) and other similar types of technical tools which generate article content, must be clearly acknowledged within the article. It is the responsibility of authors to ensure the validity, originality and integrity of their article content. Authors are expected to use these types of tools responsibly and in accordance with our editorial policies on authorship and principles of publishing ethics.

Biographical note

Please supply a short biographical note for each author. This could be adapted from your departmental website or academic networking profile and should be relatively brief (e.g. no more than 200 words).

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Author name changes on published articles

There are many reasons why an author may change their name in the course of their career. And they may wish to update their published articles to reflect this change, without publicly announcing this through a correction notice. Taylor & Francis will update journal articles where an author makes a request for their own name change, full or partial, without the requirement for an accompanying correction notice. Any pronouns in accompanying author bios and declaration statements will also be updated as part of the name change, if required.

When an author requests a name change, Taylor & Francis will:

Change the metadata associated with the article on our Taylor & Francis Online platform.

Update the HTML and PDF version of the article.

Resupply the new metadata and article content to any abstracting and indexing services that have agreements with the journal. Note: such services may have their own bibliographic policies regarding author name changes. Taylor & Francis cannot be held responsible for controlling updates to articles on third party sites and services once an article has been disseminated.

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If an author wishes for a correction notice to be published alongside their name change, Taylor & Francis will accommodate this on request. But, it is not required for an author name change to be made.

To request a name change, please contact your Journal’s Production Editor or contact us.

Taylor & Francis consider it a breach of publication ethics to request a name change for an individual without their explicit consent.

Additional resources

Co-authorship in the Humanities and Social Sciences  – our white paper based on a global survey of researchers’ experiences of collaboration.

Discussion Document: Authorship  – produced by COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics), this updated guide includes practical advice on addressing the most common ethical issues in this area.

Taylor & Francis Editorial Policies

Ethics for authors  – guidelines, support, and your checklist.

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Authorship, and the role of the ‘corresponding author’

It is important to acknowledge the people involved in compiling and writing your research. Indeed, many journals now require authors to acknowledge not only the authors who were involved in writing up the research, but also any individuals who contributed to the research in some way. These are referred to as authorship and contributorship .

How is authorship defined?

The ICMJE recommends that authorship be based on the following 4 criteria:

  • ‘Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; AND
  • Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; AND
  • Final approval of the version to be published; AND
  • Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.’

Many of the leading journals adhere to these standards maintained by ICMJE (

(Taken from, accessed 2 May 2016)

Individuals who do not meet all four of these criteria above should not be listed as authors but should be acknowledged as contributors. The authors should include details of the kind of contribution that was made, e.g. to securing funding; help overseeing the research; or commenting on or advising on drafts of the research write-up.

What order should I list contributing authors? 

A commonly asked question is in what order should I list the authors? There are some standard conventions about this:

  • The person who does the most work goes first
  • After that, names are in order of greatest contribution

What is a Corresponding Author?

A corresponding author is the individual who, when working on a paper with multiple authors, takes primary responsibility for communicating with the journal you intend to publish in. They communicate with the journal during the manuscript submission, peer review and eventual publication process while ensuring all the journal's administrative requirements are adhered to. The corresponding author usually makes themselves available throughout the process to respond to editorial queries. They should also be available after publication to respond to critiques of the work, any questions that arise and to co-operate with requests for additional data or information.

What does a ‘corresponding author’ do?

This corresponding author is:

  • Responsible for the manuscript as it moves through the entire publication process
  • The "time keeper" during each phase of the publication process
  • The primary contact between the journal and all the other authors of the paper
  • Responsible for ensuring that all authors have reviewed and approved the final version of the manuscript prior to submission
  • The person who uploads the manuscript to the online submission site, or sends it to the journal for peer review
  • Responsible for distributing communications from the journal (e.g., decision letters, reviewers’ reports).

Where should I list the ‘contributors’?

These should be named in the "Acknowledgments" section of the paper. These would include:

  • People who provided technical assistance
  • People who discussed your ideas with you and gave advice
  • Anyone who read early drafts of the paper and gave advice
  • People who were the subject of the study
  • Funding sources (this is increasingly important, esp. for ’open access‘).

Note, too, that many journals will require you to obtain written permission of the co-authors and contributors to have their names included in the article.

It is also important to read the Notes for Contributors for your target journal to ensure that any specific requirements are met.

Any questions? We can advise you regarding authorship and whether your paper meets the requirements of your target journal or standard international conventions.

Please contact us at: [email protected] or [email protected]

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Corresponding author: Roles, responsibilities, and more

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Nowadays, research is becoming increasingly collaborative due to factors, such as the spread of globalization and the growing expectations toward scientists to publish. As a result, more and more academic papers are being written by multiple authors, which triggers the need for a corresponding author , namely, a person selected from the group of authors to be in charge of duties pertaining to the pre-publication and post-publication phases of a paper. His/her identity is typically revealed on the first page of the article (Carmichael, 2020). Given the importance of this topic in scholarly publishing, in this blog article, we discuss the duties and responsibilities of a corresponding author during the pre-publication and post-publication phases.

The roles of a corresponding author

As the name suggests, a corresponding author is the primary contact for the publisher and readers alike (Carmichael, 2020). Based on this definition, a corresponding author’s duties can be broken down into two distinct phases : the pre-publication phase, in which one is in contact with the publisher, and the post-publication phase, in which one is expected to respond to readers’ questions and requests. The two phases come with quite varied responsibilities to the extent that they are not always managed by the same person (Helgesson, 2021). As such, it has been suggested by some stakeholders that the roles for the two phases be separated for the sake of transparency, a practice that, in fact, has already been adopted by some journals (Helgesson, 2021).  

Corresponding Author

More specifically, during the pre-publication phase , a corresponding author’s duties constitute five key areas.

  • Submission and handling of the manuscript: One submits the manuscript together with all the necessary auxiliary files (e.g., cover letter , figures, tables, anonymized title page , statements, permissions, certificates, etc.) as well as all potentially necessary revisions, and shares the referee report , the journal editors’ decisions, and galley proofs with all the co-authors (Weiss, 2012).
  • Maintaining a close relationship with the publisher: One manages the article processing charge (APC) payment if it applies as well as all the communication with the journal editorial team, for example, orders extra services (e.g., color figures in print, offprints, posters), adds potentially missing files, clarifies any ambiguities (e.g., non-consistent numbering of figures or tables), and provides better quality figures.
  • Obtaining permissions for the use of copyrighted material.
  • Obtaining disclosures and statements from co-authors.
  • Signing the license agreement on behalf of all the co-authors.

Regarding the post-publication phase , the communication between corresponding authors and readers involves three main activities.

  • They forward readers’ scientific questions to the co-authors and send out the latter’s joint response.
  • They receive and manage requests of data sharing.
  • They represent all co-authors in copyright-related questions (e.g., concerning the re-use of some part from the given paper).

So, what is a corresponding author responsible for ? It is important to emphasize that, while all authors share equal responsibility about the following points, the corresponding author will be addressed in case of any questions.

  • Getting permissions, affirmations, certificates, etc.
  • Dealing with the names of the authors (i.e., identifying first and last names), precise presentation of affiliations, acknowledgment of all support.
  • Responsibility for the accuracy and integrity of the work.
  • Responsibility to live up to the journal’s policies and ethical standards.

Why does your choice of the corresponding author matter?

The selection of a corresponding author matters for several reasons. As Hu (2009) points out, being the corresponding author of a paper entails considerable prestige . This is because many committees only consider first and/or corresponding authorship when evaluating grant and promotion applications, which, in fact, has led to an increase in the number of corresponding authors associated with an article (Ding & Herbert, 2022; Hu, 2009). Choosing the corresponding author wisely is also important because it is a long-term obligation . Although, in principle, it is possible to change the corresponding author after publication – it is up to the given journal’s discretion –, the change must be stated in a so-called corrigendum, which is quite unfortunate as this type of article is indicative of an error made on the part of an author/s.

Last, but not least, the identity of the corresponding author also matters from a practical point of view. This is because a corresponding author can be exempted from the payment of the expenses of Open Access publication , namely, the APC , depending on whether one’s institution is a member of the consortium with which the publisher has a Read and Publish agreement.

What makes a suitable corresponding author?

In light of the importance and prestige ascribed to the role of a corresponding author, the question inevitably arises, what attributes should one possess? As a corresponding author assumes primary responsibility for communication with a journal during the manuscript submission, peer-review, and publication process, one is expected to have great communication and organizational skills and accuracy . In addition, loadability can be regarded as another essential skill given the amount of tasks that can come with the role. Finally, a broad understanding of the research topic is expected as well, these days even more than before: Ding and Herbert (2022) found that, while between 2000–2001, a first-time corresponding author only had 4 publications on average, by 2020–2021, this number grew to 7.

Dilemmas about the authorship

The choice of the corresponding author is not the only dilemma when composing the authors’ list in an academic paper. As research has become an increasingly collaborative enterprise, occurrences of authorship-related controversies and misconduct have escalated as well. This is evidenced by the emergence of the following author types , each of which reflects some unethical practice:

  • Ghost authors : those whose contribution to a work is not stated, typically, to conceal a conflict of interest.
  • Guest authors : those who are listed as authors, but have made no real contribution to the paper.
  • Orphan authors : those who have made material contribution to a work, but, deliberately, have not been given authorship credit by the drafting team.
  • Forged authors : those who are listed as authors without their consent and despite a lack of contribution, to maximize the chances of the paper being published.

Some authorship-related disputes concern the distinction between an author and a contributor, so it is important to clarify what the criteria for authorship are. Essentially, being an author of a scientific paper presupposes that a person has made intellectual contribution to the work and agreed to take responsibility and accountability for any part of the work. Authors can have various possible roles , such as conceptualization, data curation, validation, project administration, and so on. In contrast, non-author contributors are those who provide assistance to authors on financial, editorial, conceptual, technical and even moral matters. Their identities should be acknowledged in the relevant section of the paper and the exact nature of their contribution be specified.

Authorship order has been another controversial issue. While, ideally, the order should reflect the extent to which the authors have contributed to the work , with the greatest intellectual contribution being made by the first author, alphabetical order is also common. Since the first position is the most prestigious one, it is the most likely to generate conflict; nevertheless, this may be solved by having multiple co-first authors . While corresponding authors are often first authors, this should not be taken as a general rule either (Mattsson et al., 2011). Although there are no standard policies across the scientific disciplines as to authorship order, there are various ways to avoid disputes over it. These include explicit and continuous discussions about it during the research project , consulting the given journal’s guidelines , and making quantitative or qualitative statements of each author’s contribution.

AKJournals to help authors worldwide

AKJournals is committed to helping its corresponding authors. Our relevant services include informative web pages online submission and peer-review platforms, and a team of professional and dedicated publishing editors . If you would like to read more about the topic of this blog article, we also recommend checking our journal, Scientometrics , co-published with Springer Nature, as it has several papers with “corresponding authors” as a keyword (e.g., Bigdeli & Gazni, 2012; Mattsson et al., 2011; Mendlowicz et al., 2011).

Bigdeli, Z., & Gazni, A. (2012). Authors’ sources of information: A new dimension in information scattering. Scientometrics, 92 (3), 505–521.

Carmichael, S. W. (2020). Authorship. In M. M. Shoja, A. Arynchyna, M. Loukas, A. V. D’Antoni, S. M. Buerger, M. Karl, & R. S. Tubbs (Eds.), A guide to the scientific career: Virtues, communication, research, and academic writing (pp. 357–360). Wiley Blackwell.

Ding, A., & Herbert, R. (2022). Corresponding authors: Past and present. How has the role of corresponding author changed since the early 2000s? ICSR Perspectives .

Helgesson, G. (2021). The two faces of the corresponding author and the need to separate them. Learned Publishing, 34 (4), 679–681.

Hu, X. (2009). Loads of special authorship functions: Linear growth in the percentage of “equal first authors” and corresponding authors. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 60 (11), 2378–2381.

Mattsson, P., Sundberg, C. J., & Laget, P. (2011). Is correspondence reflected in the author position? A bibliometric study of the relation between corresponding author and byline position. Scientometrics, 87 (1), 99–105.

Mendlowicz, M. V., Coutinho, E. S. F., Laks, J., Fontenelle, L. F., Valença, A. M., Berger, W., Figueira, I., & Azambuja de Aguiar, G. (2011). Is there a gender gap in authorship of the main Brazilian psychiatric journals at the beginning of the 21 st century? Scientometrics, 86 (1), 27–37.

Weiss, P. S. (2012). Who are corresponding authors? ACS Nano, 6 (4), 2861.

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The evolving meaning of ‘corresponding authorship’ in research

How the role of the corresponding author is changing in terms of research team dynamics and the perception of its meaning, and the implications for assuming the role

Rachel Herbert

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In decades gone by, the duties of a corresponding author (CA) were clear. They communicated with the journal editor, declared any conflict of interest and were the point of contact for readers after publication. The position carried no additional sense of seniority or accountability for the paper than any other author listed in the byline. Crucially, there was usually one CA per paper. However, requests for multiple CAs per paper are rising. Could this indicate that corresponding authorship is no longer seen as simply a communications role, and how are publishers responding?

The rise of multiple corresponding authors

Traditionally, the role of CA was assumed by a senior researcher who had contributed significantly to a paper and had experience in submitting and publishing research. But the global count of first-time CAs more than tripled between 2000 and 2021, according to analysis of articles indexed in Scopus® by the International Center for the Study of Research at Elsevier. Notably, first-time CAs in 2020-21 already had more published journal articles to their name than those taking on the role for the first time 20 years before, see figure 1.

Average number of articles prior to CA role

“For many, it was becoming an indication of seniority and leadership on the team, rather than a particular set of responsibilities, and that was leading to requests for multiple corresponding authors per paper,” recalls Emilie Marcus, executive strategy officer at the University of California, Los Angeles’ School of Medicine, and CEO of Cell Press from 2012 to 2018.

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Funding shortages and the growing complexity of global challenges have prompted a rise in interdisciplinary, large-scale consortia projects. In 2000-01, less than 1 per cent of articles had multiple CAs, but by 2020-21, this had risen to 10 per cent, with multiple CAs being more common when international collaboration was involved, according to Scopus® data.

Journals’ response to the evolution of corresponding authorship

Scott Edmunds, editor of GigaScience , found that, in the eight years following the launch of the journal in 2012, they “saw joint corresponding authorship increasing – in some cases, up to six were being nominated per paper”. In part, this was driven by financial incentives for researchers in China, but in early 2020, the Chinese government took steps to change this policy. GigaScience responded to the changing dynamics and introduced icons to recognise senior researchers in the author list and accept up to two CAs per paper.

But journal and publisher interpretations of the CA’s role vary. Only some require the CA to be the same person who submits the paper. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers requires both a contact author, who is the liaison during the peer review and production processes, and a CA, who is the contact featured in the printed publication. Nature indicates that CA duties end upon publication. Other journals communicate with all authors through the publication process, not just the CA.

Conflating corresponding authorship with research ‘leadership’

The lack of clarity around the CA role may lead to assumptions that impact research findings and policymaking. CA is used in some cases to imply, without clear justification, that author’s “leadership” of the research in analyses of multi-authored papers. In studies aggregated at the level of individual authors, universities and countries, this presents a danger that decision-making processes may be based on misleading findings.

Although the meaning of author name order differs by field, the last author is often a group leader or principal investigator. Since the CA was the last author in only a third of articles indexed in Scopus® in 2020-21, the CA cannot be considered a reliable signal of seniority. To more accurately and fairly recognise individual contributions, which is particularly vital for early career researchers, the CRediT (Contributor Roles Taxonomy) was introduced. Including a CRediT contribution statement in a manuscript is a way to share a detailed description of the diverse contributions to a published work.

When to assume the role of corresponding author

For researchers with the opportunity to assume the role of corresponding author, there are several considerations:

  • Any author might assume the role of CA – it need not default to the most senior. Investigate the options available when submitting a manuscript: some journals offer multiple CAs.
  • Is the role right for you? You may have more responsibilities throughout the peer review and publication process, with many researchers directing their questions or comments to the CA in the first instance.
  • To avoid authorship disputes, authorship order and author roles should be agreed before submitting a manuscript.
  • Specific roles associated with a publication can be captured in a contribution statement in a manuscript using CRediT.

Alison McIntosh is research evaluation assistant at Elsevier, working within the International Center for the Study of Research and a student at the University of St Andrews; Rachel Herbert is senior research evaluation manager at Elsevier, working within the International Center for the Study of Research .

If you found this interesting and want advice and insight from academics and university staff delivered direct to your inbox each week, sign up for the THE Campus newsletter .

To read more and discover ways in which a research institution could boost serendipitous discovery, read the following reports from the International Center for the Study of Research at Elsevier:

Corresponding Authors: Past and Present How Has the Role of Corresponding Author Changed Since the Early 2000s?

Great Power or Great Responsibility: What Is the Meaning of ‘Corresponding Authorship’ in Modern Research?

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  • Authorship in Research

Q: Where can I locate the lead author and corresponding author on a journal article?

Asked on 16 Oct, 2021

Typically, an article follows the following format in terms of the placement of necessary components: Title > Running title (if required by the journal) > Author names > Author information. 

Thus, the author information can be found immediately below the author names.

Author names carry a superscript(s), which is/are used to indicate the following:

  • Extent of contribution . E.g.,   # Author A, # Author B, Author C

# These authors contributed equally to this work.

Here the subscript “#” was used to indicate the extent of contribution.

In this case, Author A and Author B are the lead Authors.

If this is not the case, generally, the first author is the lead author.

  • Affiliation . E.g., a Author A, b Author B, c Author C.

a University of X

b University of Y

c University of Z

Here the subscripts “a, b, and c” were used to indicate the affiliation (information) of individual authors.

Thus, in a similar manner, the author information of the lead author can be identified.

  • Corresponding Author . E.g., a Author A, b Author B, c,* Author C.

* Corresponding author

Typically the asterisk symbol (*) is used to denote the Corresponding Author.

Here, the asterisk symbol “*” indicates the corresponding author, and the superscript “c” indicates the affiliation of the corresponding author.

Thus, the information on the corresponding author can be identified using the aforementioned/similar superscripts.

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Answered by Editage Insights on 22 Oct, 2021

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Corresponding author defined

The corresponding author takes responsibility for the manuscript during the submission, peer review and production process. All communication from submission to publication will be with the corresponding author.

The corresponding author does not need to be the first author or a senior author. The order of authors can be arranged during the submission process, in whichever order suits but submissions must be made by the corresponding author and not on behalf of the corresponding author.

Articles can be published with more than one corresponding author, but only one can be accommodated by the Peer Review System. 

The logic behind only allowing a single author to access the manuscript is that only one author should take responsibility for the manuscript during the submission, peer review and production stages. Having a single point of contact ensures that the manuscript can progress rapidly through the process and that all communication from Springer Nature regarding a submission goes to a unique contact.

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    The corresponding author is the one individual who takes primary responsibility for communication with the journal during the manuscript submission

  5. Corresponding Author

    The Corresponding Author is the person who handles the manuscript and correspondence during the publication process, including approving the article proofs. We

  6. First Author vs. Corresponding Author? How to Decide Which ...

    While all corresponding authors serve as the point of contact for communication with a journal during the submission, peer review, and

  7. How to Decide the First Author and Corresponding Author in ...

    The corresponding author is responsible for bringing together the manuscript, and for the whole process of submitting it to a journal, up to (

  8. Defining authorship in your research paper

    This person will handle all correspondence about the article and sign the publishing agreement on behalf of all the authors. They are responsible for ensuring

  9. Authorship and Contributorship

    A corresponding author is the individual who, when working on a paper with multiple authors, takes primary responsibility for communicating with the journal

  10. Corresponding author: Roles, responsibilities, and more

    The roles of a corresponding author · They forward readers' scientific questions to the co-authors and send out the latter's joint response. · They receive and

  11. The evolving meaning of 'corresponding authorship' in research

    They communicated with the journal editor, declared any conflict of interest and were the point of contact for readers after publication. The

  12. Conventions of Scientific Authorship

    The corresponding author is the point of contact for editors, readers, and outside researchers who have questions about the contents of the

  13. Where can I locate the lead author and corresponding ...

    location of the lead author and corresponding author on a journal ... Typically, an article follows the following format in terms of the

  14. Corresponding author defined

    The corresponding author takes responsibility for the manuscript during the submission, peer review and production process.