Ethical Requirements

It is important for all authors publishing with IEEE to understand IEEE’s definition of authorship in addition to learning about citation, data reporting, and how to follow the ethical guidelines required in scientific publishing.

Definition of Authorship

Who should be listed as an author on your scientific article? The IEEE definition of authorship will help you answer that question and clarify an author’s responsibilities.

IEEE considers individuals who meet all of the following criteria to be authors:

  1. made a significant intellectual contribution to the theoretical development, system or experimental design, prototype development, and/or the analysis and interpretation of data associated with the work contained in the article;
  2. contributed to drafting the article or reviewing and/or revising it for intellectual content;
  3. approved the final version of the article as accepted for publication, including references.

Contributors who do not meet all of the above criteria may be included in the Acknowledgment section of the article. 

Source: IEEE Publication Services and Products Board Operations Manual, Section 8.2.1.A.1.

Authorship for articles with multiple authors

If you are collaborating with other authors to publish an article, you will all need to agree on which author will be designated as the corresponding author. The corresponding author is the single point of contact between the authors and the publication where the article is submitted.

In addition to all of the authorship criteria described above, the corresponding author is also responsible for:

  1. Including as co-authors all persons appropriate and none inappropriate. 
  2. Obtaining from all co-authors their assent to be designated as such, as well as their approval of the final version of the article as accepted for publication. 
  3. Keeping all co-authors apprised of the current status of an article submitted for publication. This includes furnishing all co-authors with copies of the reviewers’ comments and a copy of the published version, as appropriate.

Tip: Select your article’s corresponding author before submitting to a publication. Co-authors remain responsible for work submitted, reviewed, and published under their names.

Source: IEEE Publication Services and Products Board Operations Manual, Section 8.2.1.A.5.

IEEE author name change policy

IEEE supports the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) initiative and guidelines on an inclusive approach to author name changes.

Learn more about IEEE’s author name change policy.

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Cite Sources Appropriately

You should always cite any sources used in your journal article. Citation is required in several instances. Follow these guidelines. 

Note that the same rules apply to your own previously published work. When in doubt, cite.


IEEE defines plagiarism as the use of another’s ideas, processes, results, or words without explicitly acknowledging the original author and source. Plagiarism in any form is unacceptable and is considered a serious breach of professional conduct, with potentially severe ethical and legal consequences. (IEEE Publication Services and Products Board Operations Manual, Section 8.2.1.B.7.)

All IEEE journal, magazine, and conference articles are screened for plagiarism before publication in the IEEE Xplore® Digital Library.

Inappropriate use of citations

Citing an irrelevant source for the purpose of artificially inflating citation metrics is considered a breach of ethics. Only cite relevant sources that legitimately contribute to your article according to the criteria outlined above.

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Report Your Data Accurately

Readers of your article rely on you to communicate your research findings fully and report your data accurately. Ensure you are showing the full picture by avoiding fabrication, falsification, and image manipulation during your research and when you are writing or revising your article.


¹The Office of Research Integrity, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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Publish Original Research

When submitting your article for publication to IEEE, it should: contain original research that has not been published before; and not be submitted to any other publication while you await a peer review decision.

IEEE recognizes that technical research is often published first as a conference article with preliminary findings. As those initial findings become fully developed, the conference article can evolve into a journal or magazine article which contains your more developed research and conclusions. IEEE supports this evolutionary publishing process provided that:

  1. Both the conference and journal articles undergo standard peer review.
  2. The journal article contains substantially more technical information than the conference article.
  3. The journal article cites the conference article and clearly indicates how the two articles differ.

Source: IEEE Publication Services and Products Board Operations Manual, Section 8.1.7.E.