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This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract Any assistance an author receives with writing a scientific article that is not acknowledged in the article is described as ghost-writing.
Articles ghost-written by medical writers engaged by pharmaceutical companies who have a vested interest in the content have caused concern after scandals revealed misleading content in some articles. A key criterion of authorship in medical journals is final approval of the article submitted for publication.
Authors are responsible for the content of their articles and for acknowledging any assistance they receive. Action taken by some journals and medical writer associations to encourage acknowledgement is an uphill task in the light of disinterest from the pharmaceutical industry and ignorance or similar lack of interest by those who agree to be named authors.
However, acknowledgment alone is not sufficient to resolve medical ghost-writing; issues of how the acknowledgement is formulated, permission to acknowledge and access to raw data also need to be tackled.
Ghost-writing, Ghost authorship, Author's editor, Acknowledgement, Pharamaceutical industry, Publication ethics Introduction Medical ghost-writing is a new term, different from the ghost-writing of autobiographies, fiction and political speeches. The ghost-writers in medicine are medical writers used by pharmaceutical companies or contract research organisations and medical communication agencies that serve the industry.
Some medical writers are employed by the industry or its service agencies, others are self-employed and work under contract. Articles written by medical writers are published in medical journals.
These articles can influence doctors and policy makers in their decisions that effect health. Therefore the articles have marketing potential and there is a feeling that articles associated with manufacturers of pharmaceuticals make exaggerated promises and omit information that might disadvantage their products - but whereas advertisements carry the name of the manufacturer, a ghost-written article does not.
Medical ghost-writing has attracted the ire of the mass media and those campaigning for ethics in the dissemination of medical research information.
A statement in the published article acknowledging the role of the medical writer is seen as the solution to ghost-writing.
Nevertheless guidelines seem to be largely ignored. In this article I will look at the current understanding of what constitutes medical ghost-writing, writing assistance and scientific authorship and I will critically review the extent to which acknowledgement is the solution to the problem.
Furthermore the very term itself has been blamed for the persistence of the practice because it implicitly identifies medical writers as the wrongdoers, detracting from the more serious ethical problem of the production of ghost-written articles for purposes of marketing Moffatt and Elliott, Authors of articles published in medical journals used to write their articles themselves.
Some received writing assistance from an author's editor who edited articles for spelling and grammatical errors and improved style. This is the evolutionary stage reached by the ICMJE guidelines, which many - but not all - medical journals have adopted or have selected parts to follow.
Ghost-writing is not mentioned. Concise Oxford Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Dictionary define a ghost-writer as a person employed to write material for another person, who is named as author: The Concise Oxford Dictionary,p This person writes rather than edits.
|Ghosts in the Machine | Rachel Hendrick - timberdesignmag.com||Rachel Hendrick BMJ ;|
|How to Write Harry Potter Fanfiction: 10 Steps (with Pictures)||Tweet The practice of ghostwriting, where pharmaceuticals companies convince university professors to put their names on articles written by someone else, was brought further into the light after a Canadian professor admitted she wrote only a portion of a published paper, despite being listed as sole author.|
The identity of the writer does not need to be concealed to satisfy the definition. Therefore a medical ghost-writer is a writer whose name does not appear anywhere in a published article.
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