Final approval for these publications is granted by a panel of peer editors as well as the journal editor, often after several rounds of edits and clarifications that can take up to a year - in addition to the months or years required for the study itself.
The goal of the white paper is to direct the reader towards making a specific decision.
There are white papers produced by non-profit organizations, including professional associations, that are also persuasive rather than neutral.
(An example would be a white paper about climate change produced by an environmental non-profit agency.) In these cases, the goal is to present and defend a specific viewpoint with no direct sales or commercial interest in mind.
Important publications will continue to be cited in future work, each citation listing their name and article.
Journal authors also take complete responsibility for the content of their articles, presenting their data at conferences, answering questions for interviews, and providing additional materials to those researchers wanting to know more.
The term "white paper" comes to us from a 100-year-old practice of government reportingin the UK.
When government agencies provided data to Parliament to help them make decisions, they would offer three different types: Very long, comprehensive documents with a blue cover, open-ended reports with a green cover, and short, focused reports on a single topic with white covers.
For these documents, the authors are not only responsible for the narrative, they are also the lead investigators in the study, the experts analyzing data for their peers in the scientific world.
Their published work is inexorably tied to their names, their careers, and their professional legacy.