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Health Agencies Update
April 27, 2011

NIH Takes on Ghostwriting

JAMA. 2011;305(16):1646. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.535

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) appears poised to take a tougher stand on investigators who accept payments to be named as authors of articles written by others, suggests a letter from Director Francis S. Collins and proposed rules for conflicts among NIH-funded investigators.

Such ghostwritten articles have received increasing scrutiny from government regulators and journals. In a letter (http://tinyurl.com/4uzj5r5) to Paul Thacker, an investigator at the watchdog group Project on Government Oversight, Collins states that the agency does not condone ghostwriting and outlines various ways the NIH might deal with investigators who engage in this practice. For example, Collins noted the agency might consider an investigator involved in ghostwriting as being in violation of agency policies regarding plagiarism.