Authorship guidelines

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GOC publications: Author Guidelines

The GOC is a large and distributed group with multiple contributors and concurrent threads of development. In addition to the main NHGRI U41 grant, other funding lines support specific GOC activities and projects. Our program covers many aspects of research informatics including data integration, tool development, curation of molecular and genomic information, knowledge visualization, and community support. Our collective publication record is robust and growing. Here we detail guidelines for authorship in GOC publications.

  • Authorship is best discussed at the start of a project, with expected first and last authors on any projected papers discussed with those working on the project. Co-authors should be those who made a significant intellectual contribution to the work.
  • Particularly with projects detailing work on a specific aspect of biology (such as apoptosis), it is important to consider including as authors all developers and curators who contributed to the specific project.

Review of manuscripts by GO PIs

  • Papers with GOC-funded authors, whether or not a GO PI is an author, need sign-off from go-tops.
  • Papers from other members of the GO Consortium (non GOC-funded) are also encouraged to share their manuscript with go-tops prior to submission.

Citing GO

  • Latest NAR paper (as of 2019:): The Gene Ontology Consortium. The Gene Ontology Resource: 20 years and still GOing strong. Nucleic Acids Res. 2019 Jan 8;47(D1):D330-D338. doi: 10.1093/nar/gky1055. PMID:30395331
  • Original GO paper: Ashburner M, Ball CA, Blake JA, Botstein D, Butler H, Cherry JM, Davis AP, Dolinski K, Dwight SS, Eppig JT, Harris MA, Hill DP, Issel-Tarver L, Kasarskis A, Lewis S, Matese JC, Richardson JE, Ringwald M, Rubin GM, Sherlock G. Gene ontology: tool for the unification of biology. The Gene Ontology Consortium. Nat Genet. 2000 May;25(1):25-9. PMID:10802651.
  • GO-CAM paper: Thomas PD, Hill DP, Mi H, Osumi-Sutherland D, Van Auken K, Carbon S, Balhoff JP, Albou LP, Good B, Gaudet P, Lewis SE, Mungall CJ. Gene Ontology Causal Activity Modeling (GO-CAM) moves beyond GO annotations to structured descriptions of biological functions and systems. Nat Genet. 2019 PMID: 31548717.

Acknowledging funding sources

If there are co-authors who are funded by the GOC U41 grant

  • Publications needs to include the funding source in Acknowledgements. The following text is recommended:
 The Gene Ontology is funded by NIH NHGRI grant U41 002273 to multi-Pis Judith A Blake, J. Michael Cherry, Christopher J. Mungall, Paul Thomas and Paul Sternberg.
  • Papers such as the GOC paper in the NAR Database Issue, that include work from all active GOC funded people, are authored as ‘The Gene Ontology Consortium’ with a contributing author, and the list of all active Consortium members included at the end of the document.

If the co-authors are GO consortium members, but not funded by the GOC U41 grant

  • There is no need to include the GOC U41 grant.
  • Please remember to cite the GO papers listed above.


  • You may acknowledge the consortium as follows, for example: "We thank the many biocurators, editors and other members of the GO Consortium who have contributed to the annotation of dementia-relevant gene products and the development of the Gene Ontology, especially xxxx".

Review Status

Last reviewed: November 19, 2019