Date: 21 Jul 2011
Why Does Academic Medicine Allow Ghostwriting? A Prescription for Reform
ghost writer (n., orig. U.S.): a hack writer who does work for which another person takes the credit -- Oxford English Dictionary
A book, paper, or speech that involves an author who is not given credit is considered ghostwritten, at least according to most dictionary definitions. This straightforward and seemingly commonsense definition has yet to be accepted within academic medicine. Over the past 15 years, the academic medical community has quietly tolerated the presence of ghostwriters in the medical literature, a practice that no other segment of the university community has allowed. A medical research paper containing a subtle endorsement for a medication carries more weight with clinicians and patients if the pharmaceutical company that wrote the paper is not mentioned in the authorship byline, especially if it lists prominent university professors from prestigious institutions.
The practice of ghostwriting is neither rare nor harmless. Alleged ghost authors haunt the clinical tri...
This article was accepted for publication on May 3, 2011.
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- Why Does Academic Medicine Allow Ghostwriting? A Prescription for Reform
Volume 48, Issue 5 , pp 371-375
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- Author Affiliations
- 1. DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine, Lincoln Memorial University, Harrogate, TN, 37752, USA
- 2. Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy, College of Public Programs, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ, 85004, USA
- 3. College of Public Programs, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ, 85004, USA