Misrepresentation of publications by applicants for radiology fellowships: is it a problem?

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1998 Mar;170(3):577-81. doi: 10.2214/ajr.170.3.9490934.


Objective: We performed this study to determine whether applicants to the body and breast/body imaging fellowship programs at our institution misrepresented their publications in their applications or curricula vitae, as has been reported recently regarding applicants for gastroenterology fellowships. We also wanted to alert program directors to this issue.

Materials and methods: For each applicant in 1992-1995, every article cited on an application form or curriculum vitae as published or in press was cross-referenced with computer databases or the actual journals.

Results: Of 201 applicants, 87 (43%) listed at least one article citation (total citations, 261; mean number of citations, 3.0; maximum number of citations, 20). Of 261 citations, 39 (15%) could not be verified. Seven articles (listed by six applicants) did not appear in print 16-30 months after being listed as in press; six citations (by six applicants) put the applicant's name higher on the authorship list than was actually true; two articles (by two applicants) were not in the location cited or elsewhere; and 24 articles (by 14 applicants) were listed as appearing in journals that could not be found. The first three categories were judged as misrepresentations of publications; the fourth category was judged indeterminate for misrepresentation.

Conclusion: A minimum of 16% (14/87) of applicants to the body and breast/body imaging fellowship programs at our institution who cited publications, or 7% of all 201 applicants in the time studied, appear to have misrepresented their publication record. Program directors should be aware of the possible means for prevention of this problem.

MeSH terms

  • Fellowships and Scholarships*
  • Publishing*
  • Radiology*
  • Scientific Misconduct* / statistics & numerical data