Updated IESG Statement: "IESG Statement on Internet Draft Authorship"

IESG Secretary <iesg-secretary@ietf.org> Mon, 10 May 2021 16:53 UTC

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From: IESG Secretary <iesg-secretary@ietf.org>
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Subject: Updated IESG Statement: "IESG Statement on Internet Draft Authorship"
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IESG Statement on Internet Draft Authorship

Online: <https://www.ietf.org/about/groups/iesg/statements/internet-draft-authorship/>

The IESG has received complaints from IETF participants who have been listed as document 
authors or contributors without their consent ("surprised authorship").

In some cases, the surprised individuals had never seen the document that surprised them. It 
appears that some authors think that including other participants as authors or contributors is a 
way to demonstrate support for the concepts in the document and gain acceptance for those 

Adding names of IETF participants who did not contribute to a proposal might to some seem to 
be an acceptable way of highlighting "support", but this is very clearly not an acceptable 
practice.  No one should ever be added to the list of authors or contributors on a document 
unless they have consented to it and have contributed significantly to the development of the 

The practice of adding surprised authors or contributors is 

* not in line with the IETF culture, where it's the technical issues that matter, not who the 
  authors, contributors, or supporters are; 
* unethical, as it is wrong to claim support from someone who has not consented to it; 
* misleading in terms of support; and 
* problematic in terms of IPR disclosures (BCPs 78 and 79). 

To emphasize this last point, the person submitting an Internet-Draft asserts that an Internet-
Draft is submitted in full conformance with the provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79. A submitter 
who has not actively confirmed this with all the listed authors and contributors cannot make that 
claim, and this can cause procedural and legal problems later. 

All authors need to be aware of the RFC Editor's statement on authorship, especially related to 
responsibility for the document's contents. The IESG strongly recommends that all drafts have 
explicit permission from all authors and contributors to have their names listed before they are 

If you feel that the above issues impact you, please talk to your Area Director or contact the 
IESG by sending email to <iesg@ietf.org>. As the administrator of the I-D repository (regardless 
of the source or intended stream for the draft), the IESG will handle each case of disputed 
authorship on a case-by-case basis. All reports will be investigated, and substantiated claims 
will be met with corrective actions. 

The default corrective action will be the replacement of the offending draft with a "disputed 
authorship" placeholder document. Such a document would: 

* Be published as a successor to the offending draft, 
* Have the offended IETF participant listed as the only author, 
* State, "The author listed on this Internet-Draft has stated that they should not have been 
  listed as an author on the previous version. The IETF considers being added as an 
  author without one's permission as unethical. The default behaviour of the IESG in such 
  cases is to approve the replacement of the offending draft with this placeholder 
  document. Please direct any queries to the IESG or the author listed here."