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Friday, November 11, 2011

Ghost Writing Persists in Major Medical Journals

By Robert Preidt

Honorary and ghost authors were involved in 21% of articles published in six leading medical journals in 2008, which shows that this type of inappropriate authorship remains a problem, a new study says.

Honorary authors are people named as authors despite not making a substantial enough contribution to take responsibility for the research. Ghost authors are people who play a major role in the research or who participate in writing the article, but are not named as authors.

The lack of transparency and accountability associated with both types of inappropriate authorship has been a concern for decades, according to the study authors.

The entire report can be read here.

The original article concludes:

"Ensuring appropriate authorship remains an important issue for authors, academic and research institutions, and scientific journals. Full transparency in authorship is essential for maintaining integrity and accountability in scientific publication and ensuring public confidence in medical research. The results of this study should raise awareness among the scientific community about the importance of ensuring appropriate authorship credit and responsibility. Future research should continue to monitor inappropriate authorship and investigate ways that the scientific community could increase its effectiveness in addressing the problem."

Further information about the original article can be found here.
BMJ 2011; 343:d6128 doi: 10.1136/bmj.d6128 (Published 25 October 2011)
Cite this as: BMJ 2011; 343:d6128