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February 4, 1998

Authors vs Contributors: Accuracy, Accountability, and Responsibility

Author Affiliations

Baystate Medical Center


Margaret A.WinkerMD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 1998;279(5):356-357. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-279-5-jbk0204

To the Editor.— The proposal by Dr Rennie and colleagues1 for increasing accountability for publication of scientific articles will improve the lot of junior faculty who are so dependent on these publications to achieve merit in their departments. Keeping noncontributors off the byline will make evident to those who provide pay raises and end-of-the-year bonuses exactly who is doing the academic work in a department. This approach will provide a greater incentive for department chairs to provide the financial rewards that are clearly deserved for academic productivity, rewards that often are overlooked in the current scheme of hierarchy of authorship, and also will eliminate much of the "tit-for-tat" authorship afforded those who merely supply 1 case, 1 consultation, or 1 side-bar comment. In my experience, it is usually the case that only 1 or 2 people are behind an article, bringing an idea to draft and then to print. It is time they received the laurels.

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