Ghost authorship of industry funded drug trials is common, say researchers

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 01 February 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:223
  1. Sally Hargreaves
  1. 1London

    Ghost authorship, whereby someone who has made a major contribution to a scientific article as an author is not acknowledged, is a widespread practice, says a study published this week.

    In the clinical trials investigated in the study, three quarters of individuals who had made significant contributions to the final paper were not listed as authors (PLoS Medicine 2007;4:e19). In most cases these were statisticians working for the company sponsoring the trial.

    “Ghost authorship is a form of research misappropriation, and we believe that this practice serves commercial purposes,” said the study's lead author, Peter Gøtzsche, of the Nordic Cochrane Centre in Copenhagen.

    “Authorship establishes accountability, responsibility, …

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