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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
  1. Fiona Godlee
  1. 1BMJ

    At least a fifth of articles published in medical journals are likely to have a guest (or honorary) author, and journals are not doing enough to tackle the problem, say two studies presented at the Sixth International Congress of Peer Review and Biomedical Publication in Vancouver last week.

    A guest author is someone who has not contributed sufficiently to the work but whose name is included in the list of authors. In a survey of corresponding authors of nearly 900 articles published in high impact general medical journals in 2008, 20% of respondents admitted that their paper had at least one guest author. In addition, nearly 8% admitted that their article had at least one ghost author—someone who had written the article or otherwise …

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