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JAMA. 1998 Jul 15;280(3):216-7.

Authorship: the coin of the realm, the source of complaints.

Author information

  • 1Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass 02115, USA. lindavwilcox@hms.harvard.edu

Abstract

CONTEXT:

Disputes associated with achieving recognition for work done may affect both morale and subsequent resource allocation to medical researchers.

OBJECTIVE:

To assess authorship disputes brought to the Ombuds Office.

SETTING:

The Ombuds Office, Harvard Medical School, Dental School, School of Public Health, and affiliated hospitals.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE:

Change in number of queries related to authorship between 1991 to 1992 and 1996 to 1997.

RESULTS:

Disputes increased from 8 (2.3%) of 355 issues brought to the office in 1991 to 1992 to 59 (10.7%) of 551 issues in 1996 to 1997. They also increased from involving 0.06% of the total population of faculty, staff, and students affiliated with the schools in 1991 to 1992 to 0.33% of the total population in 1996 to 1997. Such problems appear to occur more often for women (53% of complaints in 1994-1995 through 1996-1997) and for non-US citizens (21 % of complaints in 1991-1992 through 1996-1997).

CONCLUSIONS:

Authorship disputes are increasingly frequent. Institutions should increase enforcement of published authorship standards and place more emphasis on managerial skills for laboratory and research department heads.

Comment in

PMID:
9676658
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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