Ghost rider

This article will apply mostly to medical researchers. It is boring to read, but this is the type of stuff that I had to write while in the Doctorate program. I can sound smart at times. Enjoy or use it for toilet paper.


Alexander LL. Ghostbusting. AMWA Journal. 2008;23(2):54-55

  1. “’Biomedical communicators who contribute substantially to the writing or editing of a manuscript should be acknowledged with their permission and with disclosure of any pertinent professional or financial relationships’”

This quote still doesn’t denote that ghostwriting is a horrible topic. For instance, a person can ghostwrite by not giving permission to be acknowledged, based on the above quote.

  1. “There are two types of ghostwriting. Writing a paper for which you receive no author credit (but for which you get paid) and authoring a paper to which you contribute no work. The first type of ghostwriting is not illegal and is hardly unethical…the second type of ghostwriting is more troublesome’” This touches on the topic of payment. One of the other articles that we were to read also discusses payment and stated to the effect that being paid for services does not take the place of authorship.


Yoshikawa TT, Ouslander JG. Integrity in Publishing: Update on Policies and Statements on Authorship, Duplicate Publications, and Conflicts of Interest. JAGS. 2007; 55(2):155-157.


  1. “The principles of this document, including those related to overlapping (duplicate) publications, authorship, and disclosure of potential COI, apply equally to manuscripts for consideration in this Journal or in a separate supplement.”

I appreciate the straightforwardness of the above statement. There is no ambiguity in the statement and it simply states that these rules apply only to this journal.

  1. “authorship credit should be based on substantial contributions to conception and design, acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data, drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content; and final approval of the version to be published. Authors should meet all three conditions.”

The statement of “substantial contributions” has not been defined. This is left to interpretation in multiple studies. The use of the word “or” is powerful in that the author can partake in one of the three listed activities in the first sentence, but doesn’t have to partake in all activities. The author would have to be active in the drafting of the article and the final approval of the article for publication.

  1. “Within the Acknowledgments section and under the subheading ‘Authors’ Contributions,’ all authors’ specific areas of contributions should be listed”

I have read a lot of research articles over the years and do not recall reading this in any of the sections.


Wen Q, Gao, Y. Viewpoint: Dual Publication and Academic Inequality. Int J Applied Linguistics. 2007;17(2):221-225.

  1. “Some of our colleagues believe that submission of the same research findings in different languages is a violation of academic ethics: such a practice constitutes self-plagiarism”.

The authors are starting to make their case that they do not believe that submission in a separate language is plagiarism.

  1. ”We are among those who believe otherwise. In our view, this practice has little to do with self-plagiarism and does not violate intellectual ethics.”

I would disagree with this statement, as the authors are not performing anything new in the study, but simply translating a study from its original language. This should be listed in the article that the study is a translation and not an original work.

  1. “for the above reasons, we strongly propose a relaxation in the rule that international journals only publish “original” papers that have not been published anywhere before, taking into consideration the disadvantaged position of …”

I personally have an issue with this statement, as it is asking for a “relaxation of rules”. We discussed this semester how some ethical issues come to the forefront. It is persons like this, whom are able to rationalize plagiarism that ethics in action always has to remain at the forefront.


Geelhoed RJ, Phillips JC, Fischer AF, et al. Authorship Decision Making: An Empirical Investigation. Ethics & Behavior. 207;17(2): 95-115.

  1. “Both the 1992 and 2002 versions of the code state that ‘authors take responsibility and credit, including authorship credit, only for work they have actually performed or to which they have contributed’, with the 2002 version also qualifying the last word with the adjective substantially.

Again the word substantially is included, but is left open to interpretation.

  1. “Significant differences between groups regarding authorship decisions were noted when faculty assigned significantly more credit to students than did student participants and students assigned significantly more credit to the advisor than did faculty.”

I find this statement interesting. The faculty may be trying to assist the students with authorship publication, but this may set a poor

precedent, which continues to proliferate. For example, many of us have stated that faculty should serve as mentors, but would we agree that it isn’t appropriate to give first authorship to someone that did not perform all of the prerequisite work required to have the first authorship position.

  1. “38% of author positions were misplaced relative to their contribution…seven authors in the sample were given authorship credit when they had made no contributions to the study.”

This is a good example of how authorship may be misunderstood or confusing for some.

  1. “discussing authorship in the planning stage of a project while allowing for changes”

This is an excellent point that the discussion regarding authorship should start at the initiation of the planning phase for the study in order to reduce confusion or dissension

  1. “untenured faculty were more likely to report ath both power diffentials and a sense of loyalty or obligation influenced the decision-making process…untenured faculty more frequently reported that unwarranted authorship had been granted than did tenured faculty”

This demonstrates that a person’s place in the “pecking order” may dictate authorship.


Louis KS, Holdsworth JM, Anderson MS, Campbell EG. Everyday Ethics in Research: Translating Authorship Guidelines into Practice in the Bench Sciences. J Higher Education. 2008;79(1):88-112.

  1. “Issues related to authorship extend beyond disciplinary boundaries and relate to intellectual ownership and the competitive nature of the academic enterprise…academic researchers are awarded funding, prestige, prizes, promotions and tenure based almost exclusively on their publication history”

This may be the first issue with research. There is a “prize” at the end of the tunnel. We discussed in previous weeks regarding conflicts of interest. The fact that the “teachers” stand to profit from the research should be stated in the publication of the research.

  1. “most scientists are reluctant to exclude people from authorhip”

This is interesting. In our class, we discuss how the authorship should earned based on the requirements of publication, but scientists see no harm with assisting with the advancement of others, although they may have not performed the requisite work for authorship.

  1. high-impact compared to major journals

This is the first that I have seen a comparison such as this. I like how they defined each.

  1. Fairness “Authorship credit should be based only on (1) substantial contributions to conception and design, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation…”

This is how we all seem to interpret the research based on the answers submitted for publication. Based on this alone, there should only be one author of the publication.

  1. “My rule of thumb that is somebody who would read the paper and be able to defend it, or defend their part of it”

This is an interesting part, in that some scientists don’t believe that all three must be met. An author only has to be able to defend the part in which he/she participated. This goes against the initial rule that an author must have had a say in the publication of the article, as this is not stated in the scientists opinion.

  1. “(Adding authors) has no negative effect on my reputation as a scientist if there are four names rather than three names (on a paper), but it can make a huge difference to a student or even a technician”

I agree with this statement. If someone performed work on the paper and the work was deemed substantial to the group, then the person should be added. This needs to be discussed prior to starting the study though.

  1. “Scientists have little, if any, motive to deny authorship”

This comment is comical. In PT, it is not uncommon to read 7-8 names in a study. This may be due to that fact that little is lost from including additional authors.

  1. Based on this article, all of the authors listed in the assignment may be entitled to authorship credit.


Washburn JJ. Encouraging Research Collaboration Through Ethical and Fair Authorship: A Model Policy. Ethics and Behavior. 2008;18(1):44-58.

  1. “It may be possible to avoid problems with authorship credit by explicitly discussing authorship credit and order, preferably at the outset of research collaborations.”

This point continues to be emphasized in articles. It appears that basic communication may be lacking in research.

  1. “they propose that for the same level of authorship credit, a greater contribution should be expected fro contributors with greater competence and less of a contribution should be expected from contributors with less competence”

This brings the issue of fair vs. equal. I don’t understand how this type of statement can be made. How can one grade fairness in terms of the sliding scale of competency?

  1. “…the policy proposes that contributions be weighted such that contributors with greater competence must make greater contributions for the same authorship position than those with less competence”

I completely disagree with this type of authorship. Someone with little input could be placed as the lead author because, although they provided little in terms of the actual publication, they have little experience, which would balance out the production performed. It doesn’t seem appropriate.

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