New England Journal wins the Most Ghosts Award

A few weeks ago, Dan blogged about ghostwriting--when journal articles appear to have been written by academic researchers but were actually written by anonymous industry employees. An article in this morning's New York Times tells us that this practice is more common than most people thought. In a study commissioned by JAMA, authors of papers published in 2008 were surveyed. The proportions of ghostwritten papers per journal were as follows:
  • New England Journal of Medicine:  10.9%
  • JAMA:  7.9%
  • Lancet:  7.6%
  • PLoS Medicine 7.6%
  • Annals of Internal Medicine:  4.9%
The New England Journal editors were described as "puzzled" and "skeptical." I think "appalled" would have been a better choice of words.


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