McGoogan News

Writing Center back on campus August 22

The Writing Center@UNMC will return to campus on August 22. The center is staffed by the UNO Writing Center on Wednesdays and Thursdays, from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m.

Students, faculty, and staff are welcome to work with a writing consultant on any writing project. This free service is appropriate for writing assignments, application essays, business letters, or other projects. Please see The Writing Center site for more information and to book an appointment. Distance appointments are also available. The Writing Center@UNMC is sponsored by Academic Affairs.

BioMed Central membership to end

The McGoogan Library’s BioMed Central membership, which provided a 15% discount on article processing charges (APCs) will not be renewed and will end December 31, 2017. During the two and a half years of the membership, only a small number of authors benefited. The return on investment of this membership was very low. By cancelling this membership, the library was able to save other resources from being cancelled.

ResearchGate and article sharing

ResearchGate is a popular social media platform for scholars to share their work and communicate with others. Recently, major scientific publishers have requested that ResearchGate remove any articles in which publishers hold copyright. Publishers had been in discussion with ResearchGate about sending take-down notices to ResearchGate—to the tune of hundreds of thousands of notices. Read more about what has transpired here.

What does that mean for those with ResearchGate accounts or for article sharing in general?

Most articles published in the scientific literature are under the ownership of the publisher, not the author. If author copyrights are negotiated or if the article is open access, then the author retains copyright. When work is owned by an entity other than the author, only that entity holds the right to post the final version of the article. That means that the full text of the final published version, called the “version of record,” may not be posted to a personal or professional website, repository, or social network like ResearchGate. There may be a few exceptions, but the majority of copyright transfer agreements signed by the author do restrict posting the final published version.

With these restrictions in mind, how can you share your work with others?

Your ability to share your work depends on the copyright transfer agreement you signed with the publisher. Most major publishers permit you to share the final published version of your work with colleagues, with students in classes that you teach, with conference attendees, and for other limited audiences. However, you may not be able to share that final published version online.

For online dissemination of your work, most publishers permit authors to post what is called the “author’s final” or “pre-print” version of an article—the version that exists before copyediting, before the masthead, and before final publication markup. This is the version that has been submitted and accepted for publication. This “pre-print” submitted version, as well as the publisher’s peer reviewed or “post-print” version, can often be shared via websites, repositories, or social networks, but only after a specified embargo period. To see which version of your article is allowed, you can search SHERPA/RoMEO, a resource that compiles article sharing permissions.

At UNMC, you can make your pre-print and post-print scholarly works available to colleagues around the world by submitting them to DigitalCommons@UNMC. DigitalCommons is a repository of scholarly work at UNMC, hosted by the McGoogan Library of Medicine. Simply email your work to and library staff will upload your files, add descriptive information required by the publisher, then release works (following any specified embargo period). DigitalCommons offers extensive usage information, such as downloads, referrals, and geographic distribution.

For more information regarding article sharing and DigitalCommons@UNMC, contact Heather Brown at or 402-559-7097.

Extend the life of your poster with DigitalCommons@UNMC

The rate of publication based on conference abstracts is 52.6% (citation). Lack of time and negative or null results are often cited as reasons for not pursuing publication (citation). Many conference proceedings are included in databases such as Scopus or published in journal supplements, but the actual poster or presentation slide deck are often not available online or are difficult to find.

DigitalCommons@UNMC is a repository hosted by the McGoogan Library that allows you to publish your poster or presentation on a stable and searchable platform. The repository is indexed by Google and Google Scholar, improving findability. Usage statistics, including download counts and geographic and institutional usage, are also available.

To submit your poster or presentation slide deck, email along with the abstract and conference name and date. Repository staff will check permissions and post the files.

A Quick Look at Authorship and Contribution Statements

By Emily Glenn

Are authors’ contribution expressed in all journal articles? What control do authors have and when? Do databases convey this information up front?

Author contributions are recognized differently across journals, depending on the policies of the journal publisher. Reputable journals abide by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors’ (ICHME) recommendations for authorship based on the following criteria:

  • Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work 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.

Authors should expect to see authorship guidelines stated (or referenced) on the “resources for authors” section of reputable journal websites. Near those guidelines should be information describing how journals manage authorship and contributor listings. It is increasingly seamless—in process—to identify authors’ contributions: journals ask for descriptions, forms are filled, boxes are checked, and statements are presented using at least some text from a template.

In the final published version of journal articles, the location and look of author contributions vary. In PLoS journals, a “CO” or asterisk stamp in the author list can contain information about roles and joint or equal authorship. Nature journals also allow one set of up to six co-authors to be specified as having contributed equally to the work; other equal contributions are described in author contributions statements. Cell Press uses footnotes and offers an Author Contributions section to more fully describe each author’s specific contributions.

Journals have been able to adapt to the demand to present contributions, but biomedical literature databases have not. Just this month, PubMed began to make equal authorship information from publisher’s data. The # (pound sign) in PubMed records indicates that authors contributed equally.

At this time, other major biomedical literature databases, like Scopus of Embase, do not show author contributions at the database record level (other than dual corresponding authors).

The demand for transparency around author contributions in the published biomedical literature goes back at least 40 years.  The ICJME formed in 1978, originally as a group of editors seeking to standardize reference formats. Their work evolved in the early 1980s as they became responsible for the ethical implications of the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals (URM). After reckoning with many authorship scandals, the ICJME added a key statement to the 1988 revision of the URM: “Each author [listed in a work] should have participated sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for the content.” The ICJME continued to improve on this statement in 1991, then again in 1993.

It was only in the mid- to late 1990s that the topic of stating authors’ contributions made its way into the biomedical literature. A 1999 letter to Nature describes a landscape where authors need persuasion to describe their contributions and journals do not necessarily want to ask the question from those submitting articles for publication. Also in 1999, an article states that The Lancet did “courageously require the contributions of each author to be cited in papers.” The author suggested that funding bodies should drive the conversation of contribution and demand for more transparency.

By 2010, there was a significant amount of literature about authorship in biomedical literature. One study reported that that “that the percentage of articles with equal contribution statements has increased dramatically in five top medical journals since the beginning of the 21st century.”(Akhabue and Lautenbach, 2010)  Contributions and credit continue to be studied alongside bibliometrics, the changing nature of the scholarly record, and scholarly networks.



Akhabue E, Lautenbach E. “Equal” contributions and credit: an emerging trend in the characterization of authorship. Ann Epidemiol. 2010;20:868–871.

Davidson M. Equal Contribution for Authors in PubMed. NLM Tech Bull. 2017 Sep-Oct;(418):e5.

Huth, E. J., & Case, K. (2004). The URM: twenty-five years old. Science Editor, 27(1), 17-21.

White B. Funding agencies must use their muscle. Nature. 1999;400(6743):398-.