Developing a publication plan for a multicentre study
Ideally, publication plans should be developed at the earliest stages of trial planning. It is helpful to agree authorship criteria at the start of the study. This will avoid many problems caused by unrealistic expectations or misunderstandings. The protocol development team is a good starting point for a writing group. An invitation to join a writing team should not be viewed as an automatic qualification for authorship. Authors must expect to contribute to data interpretation and developing the publication. Some companies and academic institutions have their own authorship policies. These may be helpful but, if writer considers the policy contravenes journal authorship criteria, such as the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) criteria, you should be prepared to challenge them. Publication strategies should be clearly set out and communicated, preferably in writing, within the investigators' agreement or as a separate publication agreement. Once the results are available, the plan can be refined.