Bioethics Blogs

Authorship in Global Health Research

In a
recent paper published in BMC Medical
Ethics
, my co-authors and I argued that
there are unique issues in authorship in the context of global health research
(GHR).
Global health places priority on improving and ensuring equity in
health worldwide. GHR is often multi/interdisciplinaryand involves large
collaborative networks. Our analysis of authorship GHR applies to situations
where researchers from high income countries (HICs) partner with those in low
and middle-income countries (LMICs). First, let’s start by illustrating an
example of a GHR research project. Let’s say that researchers wanted to study
the genetics of a tropical disease. They wrote and succeeded in obtaining a
U.S. National Institutes of Health funded grant. HIC researchers may bring to
the collaboration scientific expertise, access to genomics/proteomic
technologies, and may have been the main PI on the grant. LMIC researchers may
be from a nation affected with the disease and can also provide scientific
expertise, insight into local perceptions and realities, and access to the
study population – the latter especially being difficult for HIC researchers
given possible issues surrounding trust. Together, the team may gather
epidemiological genetic data relevant to international public health
interventions and also help address local needs and interests.

The first issue we conceptualized is that current
international standards from the
International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) do not
sufficiently consider the GHR context and may wind up displacing LMIC
researchers. The ICMJE standards are adopted by many medical and scientific
journals. The ICMJE2013 recommendations state that authorship should be based
on
the following 4 criteria:

1.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.