A corresponding author is typically one of several authors who worked on a paper or report that has been submitted to a journal or periodical for review and publication. This is often used in professional journals, especially those for prestigious fields such as psychology or medicine. When a group of researchers and authors work together on a paper, which is not uncommon in these fields, they usually choose one person among themselves to submit the paper to a journal or other publication. The corresponding author is the person chosen within the group to be responsible for all contact and correspondence with the periodical they are contacting.
Sometimes also called a “coauthor designee,” a corresponding author is not necessarily more important than any of the other authors of a paper, but simply assumes other responsibilities when dealing with publishing that paper. If only a single author worked on a particular project, then he or she is by default the corresponding author for any findings he or she wishes to publish. This title can be important for projects or papers that are the result of a great deal of work from multiple authors, who all wish to have their work reviewed and published.
When a group of individuals wishes to publish an article or paper together, then the members choose one among themselves to act as the corresponding author. In this case, “corresponding” indicates that the person is responsible for all correspondence or communication between the group of authors and the periodical. He or she is typically the one who submits the paper directly to the journal or magazine, providing the names of the other authors but often only providing his or her own contact information. Once this contact is established, then the corresponding author is the only person with whom the publication has any direct communication.
The use of a corresponding author prevents multiple authors from slowing down the review and publication process. Any questions or comments the publication may have regarding the submitted work can be directed to one author, who may then talk to the other authors and provide a single, authoritative response. The corresponding author is typically responsible for reviewing any drafts and changes sent by the publisher. This is why the choice of author to act as the voice of a group is important, because any errors or incorrect changes that go to print are the responsibility of this individual.