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June 3, 1983

The paper chase

Author Affiliations

1983 Morris Fishbein Fellow

JAMA. 1983;249(21):2872-2876. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03330450010005

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The trail begins innocently enough—just a typeset line in the 1978 Author Index of the Cumulated Index Medicus:Darsee JR: EKG changes and anaphylaxis [letter] South Med J 70(10):1249, Oct 77.

For the next month the index shows another letter by the same author in a different journal; two months later there is an another, and a few months later another. Rapidly the citations in the Index Medicus change. Letters to the editor are replaced by short, single-authored papers. Soon, longer manuscripts appear in the line listings, with two, then three, then four and five authors.

With time, the names of the journals become more prestigious, small papers give way to substantial works, and researchers of national and international stature are listed as coauthors with increasing frequency.

For the past five years, Darsee's name appears on an astounding 116 articles listed in the Science Citation Index (which does not include