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Year : 2009  |  Volume : 46  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 254--255

Authorship criteria and the role of reviewers and the editor

SA Pai 
 Department of Pathology, Columbia Asia Referral Hospital, Malleshwaram West, Bangalore - 560055, India

Correspondence Address:
S A Pai
Department of Pathology, Columbia Asia Referral Hospital, Malleshwaram West, Bangalore - 560055

How to cite this article:
Pai S A. Authorship criteria and the role of reviewers and the editor.Indian J Cancer 2009;46:254-255

How to cite this URL:
Pai S A. Authorship criteria and the role of reviewers and the editor. Indian J Cancer [serial online] 2009 [cited 2021 Feb 26 ];46:254-255
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I read with interest and some surprise, the articles "Leiomyoma of the nasal septum" by Singh et al. [1] and "Ductal adenocarcinoma of ventral surface of the tongue": an unusual presentation by Halli et al. [2] What I find puzzling is that both articles deal with an unusual pathological lesion, that is, a neoplasm at an uncommon site. In both cases, the role of the pathologist was crucial to the diagnosis. Indeed, the entire discussion in both articles is restricted to pathology, yet, I can see no pathologist as a coauthor in the article, nor is there any acknowledgement made to the pathologist. I believe that an article that is almost entirely based on morphology should have the pathologist as the lead or corresponding author - or at the very least, as one of the authors / contributors.

In contrast, another article in the same issue, which also deals with an unusual pathological condition - adenocarcinoma in the small intestine - is justifiably written by surgeons only. [3] In this article, the neoplasm was detected by the surgical team on the operating table. The discussion in the article is centered on patient management; pathology plays a small role.

The cases above raise the question of what contribution an author should make, to justify inclusion as an author or contributor. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (, accessed 4 March, 2009) states that an "author" [is] generally considered to be someone who has made substantive intellectual contributions to the published study. Some journals, now request and publish information about the contributions of each person named as having participated in a submitted study, at least for original research. The World Association for Medical Editors ( / accessed 4 March, 2009), states that "authorship implies a significant intellectual contribution to the work, some role in writing the manuscript and reviewing the final draft of the manuscript, but authorship roles can vary. For all manuscripts, the corresponding author should be required to provide information on the specific contributions each author has made to the article".

In multi-author articles, particularly those involving different specialties, contributorship usually means that someone has to take responsibility for a particular section. For the two articles in question, it raises the point of responsibility for the histopathological evaluation of the two conditions. Could the corresponding authors, both surgeons, assume responsibility for the diagnoses?

Further, it also brings into question, the role of the referee [assuming the referee has access to the name of the contributors] and the editor of the journal, in the acceptance of manuscripts. Surely this lapse or irregularity should have been noticed and addressed by someone.


1Singh R, Hazarika P, Balakrishnan R, Gangwar N, Pujary P. Leiomyoma of the nasal septum. Indian J Cancer 2008;45:173-5.
2Halli R, Kini R, Bither S. Ductal adenocarcinoma of ventral surface of the tongue: An unusual presentation. Indian J Cancer 2008;45:176-8.
3Koli P, Dewoolkar VV, Butale U. Adenocarcinoma at angle of treitz: A report of two cases with review of literature. Indian J Cancer 2008;45:179-81.