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 October 2, 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 October 2, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) — A new study says children born less than one year and more than five years after a sibling can have an increased risk for autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robotic Hair Restoration

Robotic Hair Restoration

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) — A new robotic procedure is changing the way we transplant hair. The ARTAS robot leaves no linear scarring and provides more natural results. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Insertable Cardiac Monitor

Insertable Cardiac Monitor

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) — A heart monitor the size of a paperclip that can save your life. The “Reveal Linq” allows a doctor to monitor patients with A-Fib on a continuous basis for up to 3 years! Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Attacking Superbugs

Attacking Superbugs

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) — Two weapons hospitals can use to attack superbugs. Scientists in Ireland created a new gel resistant to superbugs, and a robot that can disinfect a room in minutes. Video provided by Ivanhoe
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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