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June 2023

Authorship criteria and other updates to the ICMJE Recommendations

The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) issued an updated version of the ICMJE Recommendations in May 2023. These recommendations serve as guidelines for those involved in biomedical publishing, such as journal editors, peer reviewers, and authors, to ensure integrity and transparency in scientific publications.

The revised version incorporates several important updates to address evolving trends and practices in scholarly communications. All changes can be seen in an annotated PDF released by the ICMJE. There are four key changes.

1. The second criterion for authorship, previously "Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content", was changed to "Drafting the work or reviewing it critically for important intellectual content." This was done to clarify that authors should review the paper critically but do not necessarily need to make changes to (i.e., revise) the wording in order to agree with the content of the manuscript and qualify for authorship.

2. Authors are now required to disclose the use of AI and AI-assisted technologies, including language models such as ChatGPT or other chatbots, in their work. In particular, it is explicitly stated that such AI-assisted technologies do not meet the criteria for authorship and should not be listed as authors themselves. Additionally, the use of AI by peer reviewers is addressed, and authors are cautioned against referencing AI-generated material as a primary source of content.

3. Abstracts and tables required for clinical trial results in a preprint registry are no longer counted as prior publication (and the 500-word limitation was removed; they now need only be “brief”, with no word limit stated).

4. Authors are encouraged to refer to the Sex and Gender Equity in Research (SAGER) guidelines when reporting sex- and gender-related results in their research.



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