A matter of duty

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    Corresponding authors should not neglect their responsibility to a journal or their co-authors.

    It may seem obvious that each author of a paper should agree with its contents, and we feel certain that this happens in most cases. There are, however, exceptions and therefore it is probably worth reminding corresponding authors that their duties go beyond simply uploading the manuscript files.

    In this issue we publish a corrigendum on a paper that appeared in our July 2012 issue (7, 459–464; 2012) that was necessary because of a lack of communication between the corresponding author and some of the co-authors. In this particular case, the resulting mistakes in the description of the methodology used in the work could easily be corrected, but it still required an investigation, which we report in two associated addenda. In other circumstances, the effects may not be as easy to rectify and could, for example, lead to serious problems with the scientific record, difficulties in the relationships between co-authors and, in more extreme cases, disciplinary action.

    Our editorial policies specify the responsibility of the submitting author of the manuscript during the time under consideration at the journal, as well as the duties of the corresponding author after publication of the paper (http://www.nature.com/authors/policies/authorship.html). It is clearly stated that “The corresponding (submitting) author is solely responsible for communicating with the journal and with managing communication between co-authors”.

    “When a manuscript is submitted to our journal we assume that all of the co-authors have agreed to its contents.”

    When a manuscript is submitted to our journal we assume that all of the co-authors have agreed to its contents. If the paper is accepted we assume that all the authors will see the proofs and agree with the final version and with the author contribution statement. And the corresponding author is responsible for this happening.

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    A matter of duty. Nature Nanotech 7, 767 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1038/nnano.2012.234

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