More than 20% of articles have a “guest” author, study shows

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 15 September 2009)
Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b3783

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Dear Editors,

Recently, nepotism in Greece was banned by law for cabinet members ONLY! [1]

This means that every other public official, including University Professors, is free to continue appointing sons, daughters, nephews and wives, without any transparency whatsoever!

Soon, scientific papers coming from Greek Universities will turn into a family matter.

Researchers in other Institutions must be aware of this extensive inbreeding in Greek Universities and evaluate scientific papers produced there, accordingly.

Furthermore, European Community Research Fund managers should consider financing only Universities where transparency is assured by law.



Competing interests: None declared

Stavros Saripanidis, Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Private Surgery, Thessaloniki, Greece

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Dear Editor,

In my Country nepotism, inbreeding, corruption, lack of transparency and plagiarism widely involve Universities. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

University Professors hire relatives of blood or marriage to fill academic vacancies, especially in Medical Schools.

Plagiarism and "guest author" publishing are used to provide valuable "impact factor points" to sons, daughters, wives or nephews that are to be promoted.

Often these favoured "co-authors" work in other Greek cities, other Departments or even abroad, yet they appear as active members of the clinical research team!

When they share the same surname, inbreeding is obvious.

Major prestigious medical journals, like BMJ, should insist in receiving detailed information on every author before publication and scrutinize his/her contribution to the study.

Deputy Education Minister Yiannis Panaretos found "illegalities of an unprecedented extent" in Greek Universities. He felt the need to inform personally the Greek President. [4] [7]

Hundreds of academic appointments or promotions within universities have been cancelled or suspended. [3]

Many Universities refused to provide data on suspicious appointments, even after the third written query from the Ministry of Education! [2]

Nobody will ever know the exact extent of residual inbreeding, nepotism, plagiarism and "guest author" publishing in Greek Universities...

These unfortunate conditions demoralize the young and propel them leave the Country, in tens of thousands, to study abroad. [1]



[3] Justice-to-investigate-allegations-of-nepotism-in-Athens-university-dept





Competing interests: Stavros Saripanidis is the only licensed medical doctor in his family. He has neither blood nor family ties to any Greek University Professor. After this publication, he will probably never have...

Stavros Saripanidis, Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology in Greece

Private Sector, 55131

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21 September 2009

Dear Editor,

Here is a paper with a number of authors well beyond one hundred. I became exhausted at one hundredth while reading the names of the authors. Readers of this comment are encouraged to go on with calculating and thinking of who in the list might be a ghost or a guest.

Sincerely, Olli Arjamaa

Elsik, C. et al. 2009. The genome sequence of taurine cattle: a window to ruminant biology and evolution. Science 324:522-528.

Competing interests: None declared

Competing interests: None declared

Olli Arjamaa, Senior Lecturer

University of Turku, Finland

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