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January 11, 1995

Hierarchical Authorship

Author Affiliations

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta, Ga

JAMA. 1995;273(2):115-116. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520260035026

To the Editor.  —Authorship of scientific publications is considered to be the "coins used to assess academic worth."1 Therefore, the editors of major scientific journals recently published their policy statements concerning the "rules" of authorship.2-4 Most of these rules deal with the responsibility of different authors for defending the content of the article. Since 1988, editors also have required authors to have played a key role in drafting or revising the manuscript.5Unfortunately, authors have not always adhered to these rules. A particularly egregious form of authorship misconduct is the practice of a prominent professor's accepting money to allow her or his name to be attached to articles written by ghost authors. Frequently, the ghost author may be sponsored by a pharmaceutical company to write a review article favorable to that company's product. The editors of JAMA have called this practice "deceptive and disgraceful."1A milder form

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