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J Med Ethics. 2013 Aug;39(8):514. doi: 10.1136/medethics-2012-100939. Epub 2012 Sep 6.

Misused honorary authorship is no excuse for quantifying the unquantifiable.

Abstract

Kovacs argues that honorary authorship and regarding each co-author of multi-authored papers as if they were sole authors when the performance of researchers is being evaluated by their publications mean that we should require authors to identify what proportion of each publication should be attributed to each co-author. Even if such attributions could be made reliably, such a change should not be made. Contributions to authorship cannot be validly quantified, and the relative merits of different publications are also neither equal nor validly quantifiable. Research administrators need to recognise that whatever criteria they adopt to evaluate the performance of researchers, researchers will find a way to game the system in order to maximise their personal benefit.

KEYWORDS:

Policy Guidelines/Inst. Review Boards/Review Cttes.

PMID:
22956740
DOI:
10.1136/medethics-2012-100939
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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