Purpose: To determine whether applicants to pediatrics residency and fellowship programs misrepresented authorship of publications.
Method: The authors sampled 1995 applications to the University of Washington School of Medicine's pediatrics residency program and pediatrics pulmonary fellowship program. They submitted all publications claimed in the submitted applications to extensive efforts to authenticate both their existence and authorship.
Results: Among the 404 pediatrics residency program applications studied, 147 claimed authorship of publications; 29 (19.7%) of these contained at least one unverifiable publication. Of the 401 publications claimed in the 147 applications, 41 (10.2%) could not be confirmed. Among 31 fellowship applications, 14 claimed publications. At least one citation was unverifiable for each of the 14 applications. Of the total 77 publications claimed, 31 (40%) could not be confirmed.
Conclusion: Misrepresentation occurs on graduate medical education applications; solutions are needed to address this problem.