Ghost writing at NEJM

The Globe’s White Coat Notes reports thatThe New England Journal of Medicine is disputing “findings from a rival journal’s survey that says there were more ghostwritten articles at the Waltham-based publication than at five other prominent journals.

“We take matters of authorship very seriously,” New England Journal spokeswoman Jennifer Zeis said in an e-mailed statement. “We are persistent and vigilant in communicating our policies, and we hold authors accountable for their work.”

This from 9/11 Science News.

VANCOUVER, B.C. Journal articles often list a long string of putative authors. I once counted 47 on a physics paper. But where journal articles in the natural sciences often appear overly conscientious about acknowledging all contributors, the opposite has become a nagging problem in biomedicine. Here, not all authors on a research project – or even, necessarily, the most important ones – may be identified as a contributor.

The existence of these ghost authors, as they’re called, evoked frustration and anger yesterday in a large share of the 400 journal editors and clinical research scientists taking part in a quadrennial international workshop on peer review and biomedical publication.

Click here for a science writer’s point of view.

UPDATE: 9/26 Click here for a story from the Guardian about a recent case in the UK.  The Health Care Renewal blog has been all over this one, and the topic of ghostwriting in general.

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