It's important to allow sufficient time for the research consultant to check statistical results for abstract submission and presentation. Please plan on four weeks prior to submission/presentation deadline. It's possible, however, that we can provide this two weeks prior to submission/presentation depending on our workload. We welcome the opportunity to talk with you about how we might help with your research project.
As per ICMJE guidelines: "All contributors who do not meet the criteria for authorship should be listed in an acknowledgments section. Examples of those who might be acknowledged include a person who provided purely technical help, writing assistance, or a department chairperson who provided only general support."
However, research consultants should not just be listed under acknowledgments if authorship conditions 1-3 (under Authorship) have been met. Any difference of opinion between researcher(s) and the research consultants(s) about authorship will be addressed by the Associate Dean for Research.
Decisions regarding authorship should occur early in the consultation process per the COPE Report 2003. It is our policy that researcher(s) and research consultant(s) assigned to the project agree on criteria for authorship early in their collaboration.
A common concern is when and under what circumstances statistical consultants should be co-authors on scientific papers. Decisions about authorship should be independent of consideration of funding. As recommended in published guidelines (Parker RA, Berman NG: Criteria for authorship for research consultants in medical papers. Statistics in Medicine 17: 2289-2299 (1998)): "The basis of financial support should be the time/effort spent on a project and the basis for authorship should be whether the statistician [research consultant] has made a scientific contribution to the project."
Here we adopt authorship and contributorship guidelines as promulgated by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE). The ICMJE states: "An author must take responsibility for at least one component of the work, should be able to identify who is responsible for each other component, and should ideally be confident in their co-authors' ability and integrity...The ICMJE has recommended the following criteria for authorship; these criteria are still appropriate for journals that distinguish authors from other contributors. Authorship credit should be based on 1) substantial contributions to conception and design, acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data; 2) drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content, and3) final approval of the version to be published. Authors should meet conditions 1, 2, and 3."
Some examples of substantial contributions by the research consultant include:
- Applying appropriate statistical methods to meet the project's needs and/or combining existing techniques in a novel manner
- Participating in the design of the study
- Writing part of the manuscript, describing which statistical methods were used, and/or assisting in writing other sections of the manuscript - including revisions
- Reviewing/critiquing an initial draft and suggesting alternate wording and presentation of results
- Analyzing data along with the interpretation of results
Investigators requesting assistance with grant applications are strongly advised to seek assistance as early as possible, but no later than 45 days prior to the deadline for grant submission. This will provide us with sufficient time to fully understand the substantive issues related to the research project and prepare portions of the grant as needed. If you need a shortened timeline, let us know and we will work with the Associate Dean for Research to do our best to accommodate your needs.
Whether or not the research consultant is an author, it is important to allow sufficient time for us to check statistical results and descriptions of statistical methods that appear in a manuscript. The time it takes to ensure the appropriate methodology is utilized and described will vary from project to project. Therefore, communication about any impending deadlines between the researcher(s) and research consultant(s) is key. It is our policy not to finalize any publication until thorough data cleaning has been performed. Final versions of manuscripts must be reviewed and approved prior to submission.
We also provide a review of any manuscript ready for submission. Our review service includes formatting based on the Author Instructions of the scholarly journal intended for submission, editing for readability and grammatical and spelling errors, make suggestions to reach/maintain word limit, and review references.
To help facilitate communication and maintain efficiencies within the project team of biostatisticians and other office staff, we recommend that teams:
- Establish an overall project timeline early in the collaboration
- Communicate often, clearly, and with a purpose
- Clarify work expectations in advance
- Work from an analysis plan or to-do list