Claxton, Larry D. 2005. "Scientific Authorship Part 2. History, recurring issues, practices, and guidelines." Mutation Research; 589: 31 - 45.
One challenge for most scientists is avoiding and resolving issues that center around authorship and the publishing of scientific manuscripts. While trying to place the research in proper context, impart new knowledge, follow proper guidelines, and publish in the most appropriate journal, the scientist often must deal with multi-collaborator issues like authorship allocation, trust and dependence, and resolution of publication conflicts. Most guidelines regarding publications, commentaries, and editorials have evolved from the ranks of editors in an effort to diminish the issues that faced them as editors. For example, the Ingelfinger rule attempts to prevent duplicate publications of the same study. This paper provides a historical overview of commonly encountered scientific authorship issues, a comparison of opinions on these issues, and the influence of various organizations and guidelines in regards to these issues. For example, a number of organizations provide guidelines for author allocation; however, a comparison shows that these guidelines differ on who should be an author, rules for ordering authors, and the level of responsibility for coauthors. Needs that emerge from this review are (a) a need for more controlled studies on authorship issues, (b) an increased awareness and a buy-in to consensus views by non-editor groups, e.g., managers, authors, reviewers, and scientific societies, and (c) a need for editors to express a greater understanding of authors' dilemmas and to exhibit greater flexibility. Also needed are occasions (e.g., an international congress) when editors and others (managers, authors, etc.) can directly exchange views, develop consensus approaches and solutions, and seek agreement on how to resolve authorship issues. Open dialogue is healthy, and it is essential for scientific integrity to be protected so that younger scientists can confidently follow the lead of their predecessors.
Drent, Joost P. H. 1998. "Multiple Authorship: The Contributions of Senior Authors." Jama; 280(3): 219 - 221.
The increase of authorship has been documented before, but it is unclear which author category (eg, junior or senior scientists) took most advantage from this proliferation. It might be speculated that because of seniority, senior scientists are better able to influence the decision on authorship. This view is supported by complaints that senior scientists sign for authorship at the expense of junior researchers. There are further indications that authorship is granted to chairpersons of departments as a matter of convention or that senior authors are listed just to boost the paper. This survey was conducted to assess the clinical or teaching appointment of individual authors over a 20-year period forBMJ. It was hypothesized that in this period authorship would increase with senior authors benefiting most.
Feeser, V. Ramana; Simon, Jeremy R. 2008. "The Ethical Assignment of Authorship in Scientific Publications: Issues and Guidelines." Society for Academic Emergency Medicine; 15: 963 – 969.
Properly assigning authorship of academic papers is often an ethical challenge. Through a hypothetical case study, the authors examine some of the potential ethical issues involved in determining who should and should not be listed as an author: the problems of honorary authorship, coerced authorship, and ghost authorship, as well as the question of how to order authors. Guidelines for avoiding and negotiating these issues are also discussed.
Flanagin, Annette; Carey, Lisa A., Fontanarosa, Phil B. 1998. "Prevalence of Articles with Honorary Authors and Ghost Authors in Peer-Reviewed Medical Journals." JAMA; 280(3): 222 - 224.
Authorship in biomedical publications establishes accountability, responsibility, and credit. Misappropriation of authorship undermines the integrity of the authorship system, but accurate data on its prevalence are limited. The objective is to determine the prevalence of articles with honorary authors (named authors who have not met authorship criteria) and ghost authors (individuals not named as authors but who contributed substantially to the work) in peer-reviewed medical journals and to identify journal characteristics and article types associated with such authorship misappropriation.
Gøtzsche, Peter C.; Hro'bjartsson, Asbjørn; Johansen, Helle Krogh; Haahr, Mette T.; Altman, Douglas G.; and Chan, An-Wen. 2007. "Ghost Authorship in Industry-Initiated Randomised Trials." PLoS Medicine; 4(1): 0047 - 0052.
We conducted a cohort study comparing protocols and corresponding publications for industry-initiated trials approved by the Scientific-Ethical Committees for Copenhagen and Frederiksberg in 1994–1995. We defined ghost authorship as present if individuals who wrote the trial protocol, performed the statistical analyses, or wrote the manuscript, were not listed as authors of the publication, or as members of a study group or writing committee, or in an acknowledgment. We identified 44 industry-initiated trials. We did not find any trial protocol or publication that stated explicitly that the clinical study report or the manuscript was to be written or was written by the clinical investigators, and none of the protocols stated that clinical investigators were to be involved with data analysis. We found evidence of ghost authorship for 33 trials (75%; 95% confidence interval 60%–87%). The prevalence of ghost authorship was increased to 91% (40 of 44 articles; 95% confidence interval 78%–98%) when we included cases where a person qualifying for authorship was acknowledged rather than appearing as an author. In 31 trials, the ghost authors we identified were statisticians. It is likely that we have overlooked some ghost authors, as we had very limited information to identify the possible omission of other individuals who would have qualified as authors.
Gøtzsche, Peter C.; Kassirer, Jerome P.; Woolley, Karen L.; Wager, Elizabeth; Jacobs, Adam; Gertel, Art; Hamilton, Adam. 2009. "What Should Be Done To Tackle Ghostwriting in the Medical Literature?" PLoS Medicine; 6(2): 0122 - 0125.
Ghostwriting occurs when someone makes substantial contributions to a manuscript without attribution or disclosure. It is considered bad publication practice in the medical sciences, and some argue it is scientific misconduct. At its extreme, medical ghostwriting involves pharmaceutical companies hiring professional writers to produce papers promoting their products but hiding those contributions and instead naming academic physicians or scientists as the authors. To improve transparency, many editors' associations and journals allow professional medical writers to contribute to the writing of papers without being listed as authors provided their role is acknowledged. This debate examines how best to tackle ghostwriting in the medical literature from the perspectives of a researcher, an editor, and the professional medical writer.
Ilakovac, Vesna; Fister, Kristina; Marusic, Matko; Marusic, Ana. 2007. "Reliability of disclosure forms of authors’ contributions." Canadian Medical Association Journal; 176(1): 41 - 46.
The contribution disclosure forms used by medical journals to assess and confirm authorship are surveys of self-reported behaviour that follow the cognitive rules of psychometric instruments. We sought to analyze how autobiographical memory, defined as memory for events and issues related to oneself, affected the reliability of contribution forms for the judging of authorship of research articles.
Jones, A.H. 2003. "Can authorship policies help prevent scientific misconduct? What role for scientific societies?." Science and Engineering Ethics. April, 9(2): 243-56.
The purpose of this article is to encourage and help inform active discussion of authorship policies among members of scientific societies. The article explains the history and rationale of the influential criteria for authorship developed by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, examines questions about those criteria that emerge from authorship policies adopted by several U.S. medical schools, and summarizes the arguments for replacing authorship with the contributor-guarantor model.
Williams, Peter; Wager, Elizabeth. 2011. "Exploring Why and How Journal Editors Retract Articles: Findings From a Qualitative Study." Science and Engineering Ethics. (on-line first)
Editors have a responsibility to retract seriously flawed articles from their journals. However, there appears to be little consistency in journals’ policies or procedures for this. In a qualitative study, we therefore interviewed editors of science journals using semi-structured interviews to investigate their experience of retracting articles. We identified potential barriers to retraction, difficulties in the process and also sources of support and encouragement. Our findings have been used as the basis for guidelines developed by the Committee on Publication Ethics.
Yank, Veronica; Rennie, Drummond. 1999. "Disclosure of Researcher Contributions: A Study of Original Research Articles in The Lancet." Annals of Internal Medicine; 130(8): 661 - 670.
Authorship disputes and abuses have increased in recent years. In response to a proposal that researcher contributions be specified for readers, The Lancet began disclosing such contributions at the end of original articles. The objective is to analyze the descriptions researchers use for their contributions and to determine how the order of names on the byline corresponds to these contributions, whether persons listed on the byline fulfill a lenient version of the criteria for authorship specified by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (the Vancouver Group), and whether the contributions of persons listed as contributors overlap with the contributions of those who are acknowledged.