Research code UMCG

It is essential for researchers to be able to share the results of their research and to contribute to the global development of knowledge. Moreover, after completion of the research, the researchers have a moral obligation to publish the research results, regardless of what they are. In addition to publications, this can be done by disclosing data, codes, processes, or products, amongst other things (see Collaboration with external parties). This may be subject to copyright or other IP rights.

Authors are responsible for the content of publications and thus receive recognition for their contribution to the research. In addition, author positions on a publication are essential, and decision-making about this is sometimes sensitive because it can have significant consequences for a researcher’s chances of getting funding and career opportunities.
The UMCG therefore considers it important that decision-making on author positions is fair and transparent. Managers have a special responsibility here. The agreements detailed below relate to scientific articles, but they also generally apply to other publications, such as theses, (chapters in) books, and reports. Finally, the basic principle is that research participants are also informed about the results of the study. If participants are informed individually (e.g. via e-mail), they must have provided informed consent in advance.

Preparing for publication

Where possible, a research team should make written agreements about manuscripts, authorships, and the ranking of authors before the study starts, following the guidelines below. It should also be clear which senior researcher is responsible for resolving disputes about this. These agreements can change, for example when there are changes in the originally scheduled contributions from team members. New proposals for manuscripts (including authorships) are only worked out after the team has agreed to them. Furthermore, we advise that you to think about other forms of communication, findability, and visibility at an early stage. For biobanks and databanks, the UMCG biobanks/databanks (cohorts) Publication Policy Guide has been developed.

Recommendations for authorship and author positions

The UMCG endorses the Recommendations of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors as a basis for authorship. Staff members are obliged to comply with these recommendations.

Criteria for authorship

Authorship must be based on all of the following four criteria:

1. Substantial contribution to the concept or design of the research or to the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of the research data

2. Writing or critically editing the texts

3. Approval of the final version of the manuscript

4. Responsibility for all parts of the manuscript, as shown by a willingness to ensure that questions about the accuracy of any part are properly investigated and answered

Anyone who meets the first criterion of a substantial contribution to the research should be given the opportunity to meet the other three criteria and qualify as an author.

    • Anyone who meets the criteria for authorship must be listed as an author.
    • Each author must have participated sufficiently in the research to account for at least one part of the manuscript and to know who is responsible for the other parts. It is good practice to hold at least one author (often the senior or corresponding author) responsible for the legal and ethical aspects of the manuscript.
    • A contribution to the funding or data collection and the general management of the research group or department alone does not entitle anyone to authorship.

    The COPE provides helpful information and tools (flowcharts, checklists, and examples) for establishing authorship and resolving potential disputes.

Breach of academic integrity must be reported to the manager or, if there is reason to do so, to the relevant confidential adviser (see Complaints about research misconduct). Examples of this related to authorship are:

  • Enforced authorships that do not meet the above criteria.
  • Omitting someone who qualifies as an author or not giving someone who meets the first criterion the opportunity to qualify as an author, for example by not soliciting input during the writing and editing process.

Order of authors

The first, second, last, and penultimate authors have normally contributed more than the other authors.

  • The first author generally made the greatest practical contribution to the research and wrote the first version of the manuscript.
  • The second author is often the daily supervisor of the first author or has co-written most actively.
  • The last author is usually ultimately responsible for the manuscript and the part of the study on which this manuscript is based.
  • The penultimate author also often has a senior role in the project, for example as supervisor or co-supervisor.
  • The other authors are listed in order of, for example, their contribution. The author order should be a joint decision.

  • If a large group of researchers has conducted a (multicentre) study, the individuals who qualify as authors on the manuscript can be:

    • Listed as individual authors
    • Presented as a group
    • Listed under the name of one author (‘.... for the... study group’)

    In the latter two cases, individuals who are not listed separately as authors should be listed as ‘collaborators’. The choice between the three options should preferably be made in the initial phase of the research with the interests of junior researchers explicitly considered in the decision-making process.

Acknowledgements en Conflict of Interest

People who have contributed substantially to the work but do not meet the criteria for authorship can be listed in the Acknowledgements, including their title, position, affiliation, and specified contribution. They must agree with the fact that they are mentioned and how they are mentioned.

Financial and other substantial material sources of support for the research must be disclosed in the Acknowledgements or the Funding Statements.

AI technologies

AI technologies such as ChatGPT (Generative Pretrained Transformer) offer new possibilities, for example as a writing aid. However, these language models are based on incomplete and often incorrect information. The potential consequences of unconsidered use of AI-generated materials are all kinds of bias, unsubstantiated claims, incomplete references, or even racist and unethical expressions. Researchers using AI technologies should be aware of the risks and be transparent about their use in publications and other forms of expression. The researcher remains ultimately responsible for the content and must therefore check it for accuracy and completeness and add source citations where relevant. A language model cannot act as a ‘non-human’ author. Many journals now have author guidelines on the use of these technologies. Please note: All information entered into ChatGPT is stored on OpenAI servers, so users should never enter personal data or company-sensitive data such as patient data, innovative ideas, or (unpublished) scientific data/outcomes. As these technologies, their use, and ideas are developing rapidly, this section will be updated regularly.


The work of others should be respected by proper attribution of their ideas and text through adequate citations and references.

  • References should be provided as fully and accurately as possible.
  • When referencing books and reports, mention the relevant page numbers.
  • If a quote is used verbatim, where it begins and ends should be clearly indicated using quotation marks and it should have a reference and page number. A reference alone is not sufficient.
  • If citations from one source are extensively used, it is wise to consult with the original author(s) because of possible copyright.

The CMB has programmes for processing references.

Open Science and Open Access

Open Science is the global drive toward more transparency in the way researchers work, share research data and other information, and disseminate research results. In accordance with the UG Strategic Plan 2021-2026, the UMCG stimulates the application of Open Science in the academic community by striving towards FAIR data (see FAIR data) and Open Access publishing (freely available, cost-free, full online access to publications). The UG/UMCG Open Access policy distinguishes different forms of Open Access publishing (infographic):

  • Gold – The journal is either fully Open Access or ‘hybrid’. These forms are preferred and have costs (APC). In many cases, hybrid journals can be partially paid for by the UMCG.
  • Green – The article is not published Open Access in a subscription journal. It can still be made available for free in one of two ways:
    • After an embargo period of 6 months, the published article will be available open access, free of charge via Pure. See the CMB Library Guide for more information.
    • In some situations, it is necessary to make the accepted version of the peer-reviewed manuscript available without embargo with the help of the CMB via Pure Open Access.

Media and publicity

The UMCG encourages researchers to seek publicity in order to:

  • Demonstrate the relevance of the research to the general public
  • Strengthen the reputation of the UMCG as a research institution and increase the name recognition of researchers
  • Account for the use of public and private financial resources

However, media attention also carries risks that researchers should be aware of.

  • There is a tension between the media’s desire to render a message in short and simple terms for the general public and the researcher’s desire to be complete and nuanced.
  • Researchers may be tempted to exaggerate their findings and their implications in order to generate more media attention. This can lead to a violation of academic integrity and unjustified expectations among patients.
  • Publicity is often influenced by the interests of third parties, such as:
    • Private parties that use research results in their marketing
    • Politicians who marginalise research results when they are not in line with their political or policy goals
    • Funding bodies that use the results of research they funded for their own promotion in order to increase political and social support
    • Media that want to generate extra attention or advertising revenue with the news

A selective, overly positive, or too generalised presentation of research results and their implications can compromise the academic integrity of both the researcher and the UMCG. Therefore, researchers need to realise that dealing with the media requires special skills and caution. It thus is crucial to always claim the right to correct factual inaccuracies in a text before it is published.

The UMCG Communications and Marketing department offers professional support in dealing with media. See video and the UMCG communication portal EHBC. Researchers should consult with the Communication and Marketing department when:

  • A great deal of media attention is expected
  • There will be filming or photography at the UMCG
  • The results of the research can easily lead to misunderstandings
  • The research touches on a controversial topic

  • Contact: Secretariat tel. (050) 361 12 200, e-mail: [email protected]

    The press officer on duty can be reached via the secretariat during office hours and via the telephone exchange of the UMCG (050) 361 61 61 outside of office hours (24/7).

Social media

Social media has a special role among other media because it can be used to inform the public very directly. This can be useful in communicating about interesting developments or in stimulating constructive scientific debate. The disadvantage is that incorrect information also spreads very quickly and news sites and blogs don’t always apply the principles of good journalism. Extra caution is therefore required. The Communication and Marketing department’s workshop ‘Social Media for Researchers’ provides more information about social media use.

  • Social media offers the opportunity to:

    • Network with fellow researchers
    • Exchange information quickly, including research results
    • Enter into new collaborations
    • Gain insight into other fields
    • Get an idea of what is going on among certain target groups
    • Promote yourself as an expert
  • Anything shared via social media is visible forever and can always be traced back to the author of the post. There are risks involved. Before sharing posts, a researcher should consider whether they can best be shared under their own title or via a UMCG account in view of the possible interactions and reactions resulting from the post. In addition, researchers should realise that, as a social media user, they are not only seen as an individual but possibly also as a representative of a certain professional group and of the UMCG.

    It is therefore important to:

    • Distinguish between opinions as scientists and opinions as individuals, and to carefully interpret the nature of the content
    • Refrain from making unsubstantiated statements or comments
    • Not share any confidential information about patients or colleagues or information traceable to other individuals
    • Check whether there are copyright or portrait rights on any photos used. The portrait rights form can be downloaded from the EHBC.

    Social media posts can lead to harassment, threats, or hate comments. Researchers who experience this are advised to discuss this with their manager and to report it to the WetenschapVeilig helpline.

Publicity by third parties

Sometimes, funders or clients want to design the publicity themselves without the involvement of the researcher or the UMCG. In most cases, this is not desirable.

The basic rule to follow here is that the UMCG or the coordinating centre (in multicentre research) provides publicity. Researchers are also advised to consult with the Communication and Marketing department before appearing in media productions made by a company.

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Elizabeth Koier Policy Advisor Research Office