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Academics’ understandings of the authorial academic writer: a qualitative analysis of authorial identityResearch on authorial identity has focused almost exclusively on the attitudes and beliefs of students. This paper explores how academics understand authorial identity in higher education. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 27 professional academics and analysed using thematic analysis, identifying themes at two levels. At the semantic level was a main theme called ‘the authorial writer’, with five subthemes: ‘authorial confidence’, ‘valuing writing’, ‘ownership and attachment’, ‘authorial thinking’, and ‘authorial goals’. At the latent level were two integrative themes: ‘tacit learning’ and ‘negotiating identities’. The semantic subthemes represent attributes that could be targets for pedagogic interventions. The integrative themes suggest processes in the development of authorial identity, which can inform more effective teaching. By identifying attributes and processes associated with authorial identity, these findings help towards a psychological understanding of authorial identity, informing development of more effective pedagogy to help students improve their academic writing and avoid plagiarism.