A study of 44 industry-initiated trials from Denmark in the 1990s found evidence of ghost authorship for 33 trials, which increased to 40 if a person qualifying for authorship was just acknowledged rather than being named as an author.
The researchers, led by Peter C. Gøtzsche from the Nordic Cochrane Centre, Copenhagen, Denmark, studied all published industry-initiated randomised trials approved in 1994–1995 by the Scientific-Ethical Committees for Copenhagen and Frederiksberg in Denmark. They compared the full trial protocols (which were written before the trial was begun) approved by these ethical committees with the primary scientific report which resulted from these trials, and which was published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Ghost authorship was defined as present if individuals who wrote the trial protocol, performed the statistical analyses, or wrote the manuscript, were not listed as authors of the publication, or as members of a study group or writing committee, or in an acknowledgment. Of the 44 trials included, 43 were initiated by one of 26 multinational pharmaceutical firms and one by a local company.
In 31 trials, the ghost authors identified were statisticians. Eight publications acknowledged the assistance of statisticians, and four acknowledged the assistance of medical writers. Conversely, although all published reports had clinicians as authors no trial protocol or publication stated explicitly that the study report or the manuscript was to be written or was written by the clinical investigators, and none of the protocols stated that clinical investigators were to be involved with data analysis. It was also unclear whether clinicians had contributed to the protocols.
This study is the first that has systematically examined the prevalence of ghost authorship using a cohort of protocols and corresponding publications. The authors conclude that “ghost authorship in industry-initiated randomised trials is very common, and we believe that this practice serves commercial purposes”. They go on to urge that in order to reduce the prevalence of ghost authorship existing guidelines, such as those drawn up by the International Committee on Medical Journal Editors, World Association of Medical Editors and European Medical Writers Association are followed. This action could increase the chance that publications accurately, fairly, and comprehensively reflect the data collected from trials
A related perspective by Liz Wager, an independent editorial consultant, who has been involved in drawing up guidelines for medical writers, discusses the implication of these findings further.
Citation: Gøtzsche PC, Hróbjartsson A, Johansen HK, Haahr MT, Altman DG, et al. (2007) Ghost authorship in industry-initiated randomised trials. PLoS Med 4(1): e19.
Andrew Hyde | alfa
A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg
Urbanization to convert 300,000 km2 of prime croplands
27.12.2016 | Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) gGmbH
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.
The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...
UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration
"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...
Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are frequently used in the aeronautic and automobile industry. However, the repair of workpieces made of these composite materials is often less profitable than exchanging the part. In order to increase the lifetime of FRP parts and to make them more eco-efficient, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Apodius GmbH want to combine a new measuring device for fiber layer orientation with an innovative laser-based repair process.
Defects in FRP pieces may be production or operation-related. Whether or not repair is cost-effective depends on the geometry of the defective area, the tools...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
16.01.2017 | Information Technology
16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering