Although accepted norms in authorship vary across different scientific disciplines, in general, researchers who have made a significant contribution to a published study can reasonably expect to be listed as an author. The researchers writing up the study will need to take responsibility for fairly including all those who have contributed to the study’s various stages. All authors will also be taking public responsibility for the published research and therefore should be included in the process of finalising and approving the manuscript before submission. To facilitate this, it is good practice to maintain professional contact with researchers who leave the group before the study is complete.

Emily Skinner is a publishing ethics specialist at the Royal Society of Chemistry