Letters Section Editor: Robert M. Golub,
MD, Senior Editor.
To the Editor:JAMA published
2 Commentaries on health care, one by Senator John Kerry,1 the
other by President George Bush.2 While I commend JAMA for publishing these pieces, I am concerned that it
may be violating its own policies regarding authorship. Because I am certain
that neither Senator Kerry nor President Bush actually wrote the articles
or had even cursory involvement in the review process, I question whether JAMA is establishing a precedent in violation of its existing
authorship requirements found in the Instructions for Authors.3 Peer-reviewed
journals maintain that “ghost authorship” is inappropriate and
consider it a reason for not accepting an article for publication. If JAMA makes exceptions to this policy, as I believe occurred
in this case, shouldn’t the reader be advised of that? This would raise
the legitimate question of under what circumstances an author should be granted
waiver from JAMA’s policy regarding authorship.
Jay SJ. Presidential Candidates’ Commentaries. JAMA. 2005;293(12):1449-1450. doi:10.1001/jama.293.12.1449-a