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Feature Academic Authorship

How I was nearly duped into “authoring” a fake paper

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 08 December 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h6605
  1. Per Aspenberg, professor of orthopaedics, Linköping University, Sweden
  1. per.aspenberg{at}

Academics need to beware of the dangers of flattery, says Per Aspenberg

In February 2015, I was invited to join an academic working group to analyse procedures for increasing bone mass, structure, and strength through “intraosseous interventions.” The group, which included some of the world’s most prominent osteoporosis researchers, was meeting at a luxury hotel in Switzerland as part of the preparations for the world congress on osteoporosis. I was asked to give a presentation on “currently available orthopaedic procedures for bone enhancement.”

The subject puzzled me, because there are no such procedures. But I was flattered by the invitation so rather than decline I spent several days preparing a presentation in which I concluded that prophylactic surgery in osteoporosis was not a good idea.

One week before the meeting I received an email from a professional medical writer, attaching a synopsis for the meeting in which I …

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