Definition of authorship in social science journals
This study investigated authorship definitions listed on 1065 journal websites, representing seven social science disciplines. The results showed that 51.3% of the journals do not have an established authorship definition. Journals with high impact factors do not necessarily have an established authorship definition. Up to 81.1% of law journals lack authorship definitions, whereas the lowest proportion of journals having no authorship definitions was identified in the business domain. Authorship definitions were mostly accessible through hyperlinks embedded in the “instructions for authors” section of the journals’ websites. Only 3.8% of the journals directly listed authorship definitions in the instructions for authors section. A total of seven types of requirements were identified for authorship. The interdisciplinary influence of the authorship criteria developed by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) has expanded to the social sciences. The current version of the ICMJE authorship criteria was abided by 32.9% of the journals. Authorship definitions stated by journals primarily originated from those set by editorial associations and other professional associations. However, inconsistent authorship definitions were noted between journals published by the same publishers. Journal websites should provide clear, complete, and updated authorship criteria to efficiently communicate essential information to authors.