E-mediate/Maximedia Guides


The UN's own guide on authorship can be found at its site in PDF. I defy you to make sense of it.

What you will probably want to know is how consultants should be referenced. These rules cause the most frustration and argument. ST/AI/189/Add.6/Rev.4 of 12 February 1996 says:


The rules on attribution of authorship apply to all United Nations documents and publications, as well as to papers prepared in the Secretariat in connection with meetings, seminars and technical cooperation projects and newsletters and working papers intended for distribution outside the Secretariat.


...the substantive author departments shall bear responsibility for approving the requests for attribution in individual cases. They shall also decide what form such attribution will take. This might range from attribution to one or two authors or an organizational unit on the title-page, or a broader acknowledgement later in the front matter when the work in question is a collaborative effort. In consultation with the heads of other departments and offices responsible for design, editing, typesetting or translation, author departments would decide upon the form of acknowledgement for these services.


Attribution of authorship will not [?sic, but see the last sentence of (c)] be considered in the following categories:

(c) Public information material: brochures, pamphlets, press releases, flyers, catalogues and other materials designed primarily to inform the public about United Nations activities. For the purpose of the present instruction, public information material offered in publications may have attribution;

D. Attribution to consultants

10. As a general rule, attribution or other reference to consultants may be made at the discretion of the Secretary-General, consistent with the provisions of the present instruction [what?].

11. When a consultant is engaged to prepare a report of the Secretary-General, usually in response to a request from a legislative body, authorship of the report shall not be attributed to the consultant. A reference may in appropriate cases be made in a footnote to the consultant’s contribution to the report [Such as the consultant did all the work?].

12. Notwithstanding the above, it should be noted that all rights (title, copyright and patent rights) to any work remain with the United Nations.

[This gives me problems: I do not think UN material should be copyrighted.]

F. Papers and articles by government representatives
and by authors outside the United Nations

14. Except as indicated elsewhere in the present instruction, papers and articles prepared by government representatives or officials or by authors outside the United Nations Secretariat may be attributed to them.

You might occasionally need to know these rules:

G. Attribution to a Government, foundation or other body

15. Where a Government, foundation or other body has cooperated or is jointly
responsible for preparation with the United Nations of a paper or a publication,
it may be given appropriate mention on the cover and the title-page in such
terms as the following:

"Prepared in cooperation with the Ministry of ... of the Government
of ...".

Alternatively, acknowledgement may be made in a foreword or preface.

I. Disclaimers

19. When a publication contains component parts attributed to individual authors within the Organization, the prefatory matter may contain a statement indicating the position of the United Nations towards such material. Such a disclaimer might in a typical case read:

"The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the United Nations."