Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Strategies To Tackle Medical Ghostwriting Are Debated

Date:
February 2, 2009
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
Better strategies to tackle ghostwriting in the medical literature are the subject of a debate by leading authors in next week's issue of the open-access journal PLoS Medicine.

Better strategies to tackle ghostwriting in the medical literature are the subject of a debate by leading authors in next week's issue of the open-access journal PLoS Medicine. Ghostwriting is scientific misconduct, argues Peter Gøtzsche, Director of the Nordic Cochrane Centre, Copenhagen, Denmark, because it is dishonest and often does not allow for proper accountability of the role of authors and study sponsors in the publication process.

"Court cases that allowed access to industry files have shown that ghost and guest authorship are common," says Dr. Gøtzsche, citing a recent example involving the anti-inflammatory drug rofecoxib (Vioxx) in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

But Jerome Kassirer, former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, disagrees. He states that while ghostwriting "debases the fundamental tenets of the medical profession" and can jeopardize patient care, we still do not have enough evidence of its existence. "We must be careful not to impose excessive regulations to solve problems that may not be threatening," argues Dr. Kassirer.

A third perspective on ghostwriting comes from an international group of professional medical writers who argue that so long as their contribution to publication is explicitly disclosed, "the communication expertise and health care knowledge" of professional medical writers can be an untapped resource to help researchers publish and disseminate their research. They propose a new checklist for authors using medical writers that can be included with manuscript submission and encourages appropriate disclosure of writing assistance.

One of the problems in tackling ghostwriting, says Dr. Gøtzsche, is that "the involved parties have a common interest in secrecy, and junior researchers can ruin their careers if they reveal that the professor did not write the papers that bear his or her name." The implications of ghostwriting are considerable: "ghostwriting threatens the validity of our medical knowledge, and in doing so it jeopardizes patient care," says Dr. Kassirer.

Ghostwriting occurs when someone makes substantial contributions to a manuscript without attribution or disclosure. It often occurs simultaneously with "guest authorship" (sometimes called honorary or gift authorship), where authorship is given even though the contributions of the named authors are minor or nonexistent.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Gøtzsche PC, Kassirer JP, Woolley KL, Wager E, Jacobs A, et al. What Should Be Done To Tackle Ghostwriting in the Medical Literature? PLoS Medicine, 2009; 6 (2): e23 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000023

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "New Strategies To Tackle Medical Ghostwriting Are Debated." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 February 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090202213319.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2009, February 2). New Strategies To Tackle Medical Ghostwriting Are Debated. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090202213319.htm
Public Library of Science. "New Strategies To Tackle Medical Ghostwriting Are Debated." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090202213319.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) — Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) — Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) — At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) — The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:  

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile iPhone Android Web
      Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins