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Use of group authorship

The number of authors on a scientific article is growing. This is happening along with the fact that the studies are becoming more complex nowadays, and typically will involve collaboration across disciplines and sometimes even across several countries. It has gradually become more accepted to include many authors in the byline of the article.

Some years ago it was more common to see group-names in the byline instead of the names of the individual authors. When using a group-name in the byline, then the individual author-names are typically given in the acknowledgement section or as a footnote on the first page of the article. PubMed will index all the individual author names if it is distinctly defined who should be regarded as an author and who should be regarded as a contributor.

So in fact, it is not necessary to use a group-name for the authors and instead you can simply put all the names in the byline of the people who qualify for authorship according to the ICMJE-authorship criteria.

In other disciplines, for instance in nuclear physics etc., you can sometimes see articles with up to thousands of authors on the byline. Of course this is not relevant in the biomedical field, where even a large multi-center study may settle for maybe 20-30 authors. In this context it is important to underline, that the ICMJE criteria for authorship only covers the biomedical field and not other areas such as nuclear physics etc.

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