Guidelines for (co-)authorship vary among disciplines. These recommendations are based on a note written by Professor Bart Koelmans and have been approved by Wageningen Graduate Schools.


Guidelines for (co-)authorship vary among disciplines. Generally, authorship implies that you have substantially contributed to at least two of the following research activities for a manuscript:

  • initiation and design of the research
  • data collection
  • data analysis
  • writing of the manuscript


A paper’s co-author(s) should have made significant scientific contributions to the manuscript and share responsibility and accountability for its results. Other contributions should be listed in the acknowledgments. The author who submits a manuscript for publication is responsible for including all co-authors. The submitting author should also send the co-authors the final draft of the manuscript and receive their approval to submit and to publish the work. Many journals now also recommend that the contributions of each co-author should be stated in the manuscript, e.g., PLoS ONE and Nature.

Order of the authors

The first author is always the person who has made the most important contribution. Co-authors can be ranked in order of decreasing importance of their contribution or in alphabetic order if their contributions were equal. The second or last author may be the second most important author, the direct supervisor or the research leader, depending on the discipline. Note that all supervisors and research leaders mentioned as co-author should have substantially contributed to the manuscript.

Tips for managing co-authorship

  • Agree on the criteria and tasks for first authorship and the order of co-authors early in the research process.
  • Collectively decide on authorship and the order of the co-authors.
  • In the case of a disagreement or unclarity about authorship, consult the chair group or research institute director or the PhD confidant of your Graduate School.
  • Clarify any issues with or conflicts on (co-)authorship before submitting to a journal. Adding or removing co-authors and changing the author order is extremely difficult once an article has been accepted for publication.

WUR author affiliations

Make sure you use the correct Wageningen University & Research affiliation(s), following the brand name 'Wageningen University & Research'. Check that the external affiliations are also correct.

For WUR open access deals, the corresponding author must be affiliated with WUR and have a valid WUR email account at the time of publication. Note that the manuscript may be published long after submission. If you are on a temporary contract (e.g. PhD, post-doc contract), make sure that somebody with a valid WUR account at the time of publication is the corresponding author.