Authorship issues

Lung India. 2012 Jan;29(1):76-80. doi: 10.4103/0970-2113.92371.


Authorship is a highly sought attribute, as it is associated with recognition for creativity. In addition, it is associated with multiple benefits such as peer recognition, better evaluation and financial gains. These possibilities spur scientists to author articles, but some take recourse to unethical practice of honorary authorships. Another unethical practice is that of ghostwriting. It is a phenomenon wherein individuals who write the articles are not named as authors and are not even acknowledged to be associated with the manuscript. Reputed and renowned scientists, who have not participated in the conduct of the study or in the manuscript preparation, are enrolled by the industry to allow their names to be mentioned as authors. This phenomenon is harmful not only because it suppresses the contribution of ghost-authors but also because the guest "authors" bestow underserved credibility upon an "industry-written" paper. The readers have no way of knowing the bias that may have crept in. The journal editors, institution, and government agencies need to come together to ensure that these malpractices are curbed by employing various measures such as creating awareness amongst authors, academicians, and administrators; enunciating and implementing policies to dissuade unethical behavior, protecting whistle-blowers, and providing punishments to those indulging in malpractices. All of us should remember that if unchecked, these deviant behaviors have the potential to compromise the credibility of scientific research and scientific publications.

Keywords: Authorship; research; writing.