I have written a systematic review which all words are extremely mine. Another colleague gave me the idea of writing this review and just carried out the systematic search, but did not participate in any other parts, such as design and outline of the study, interpretations, edition or even extracting the results from the reviewed articles. I would like to know whether his contribution is significant enough to consider him as an author or not.

  • 3
    Use your common sense and be generous (believe it or not, the generosity does pay off occasionally). There are no rules set in stone for such things. It is all between you and him, period.
    – fedja
    Jun 4, 2018 at 2:38

1 Answer 1


Given the sparseness of the details, its rather difficult to provide specific advice. Here are a few thoughts from someone whose performed systematic reviews for last 30 years, having led teams of reviewers and review programmes, and having participated in the Cochrane Collaboration since its early days:

  1. Performing a systematic review on your own is frowned upon nowadays. In the first place, there needs to be a good balance of content, methods and consumer skills and its very rare to possess all this is one person. In the second place, you'll be making decisions that need to be validated somehow. For example, you are choosing the studies to include and exclude. This is a crucial step and requires another set of eyes with agreements often being resolved by another (third) person.

  2. Searching is a specialist area where research librarians often become involved. It can be the case that someone is on the authorship list not only because they've done the work, but because they can stand by that work. In addition, in the case in which reviewers seek information or modification of your search strategy, the search specialist can handle these issues without breaking a sweat.

  3. If your contributor meets the definition of authorship, he is right to expect it.

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