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article imageGhostwriting taking over in some medical journals

By Wang Fangqing     Sep 11, 2009 in Business
A recent study through online questionnaire revealed industry-sponsored ghostwriting is widely used by some of the top medical journals.
According to the study by editors of The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), 7.8 per cent of responding authors of 630 articles acknowledged their bylines were not listed under their articles, reported the New York Times.
Breaking down to the journals, authors reported a 10.5 per cent rate of ghostwriting in the Boston-based New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), 7.9 per cent rate for the JAMA, 7.6 percent for The Lancet and 2 per cent in Nature Medicine.
The issue of ghost writing is increasingly getting press, including coverage here on DigitalJournal.com in August when a professor from McGill University admitted using a ghost writer.
Concerns over these articles, mostly sponsored by pharmaceutical companies, ,are focusing on the bias stance writers take, which eventually affect patient care.
Since ghostwriting is considered an academic crime almost equivalent to plagiarism. Some editors expressed shock after the Vancouver meeting that discussed the study, Thursday morning.
“We are a journal that has very explicit policies on ghostwriting and contributorship, and I feel that we’ve basically been lied to by authors," said Ginny Barbour, chief editor of PLoS Medicine.
Karen P. Buckley, spokeswoman of the NEJM, said the journal will keep strengthening its policies, though the editors said the findings are "skeptical."
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