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Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2013 Jul;137(7):979-82. doi: 10.5858/arpa.2012-0253-OA.

Prevalence and types of misrepresentation of publication record by pathology residency applicants.

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Department of Pathology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR 72205, USA.



Publication misrepresentation among residency applicants has been demonstrated in various specialties. This study examines the prevalence of publication misrepresentation among US-trained and non-US-trained pathology residency applicants.


To determine the prevalence of publication misrepresentation in the pathology applicant pool at our institution, to compare the rates of misrepresentation among US-trained and non-US-trained applicants, and to compare results to published results from other medical specialties.


All peer-reviewed journal articles reported on applications to our program in 2010 and 2011 were examined for veracity. Applications from current or past trainees and applications with unverifiable manuscripts were excluded. The type of misrepresentation and the country in which the applicant trained were recorded.


Seven hundred applications were reviewed. Of 319 (46%) reported publications, 25 were from US graduates (8%) and 294 (92%) were from non-US graduates. Eighty-six applications were excluded owing to unverifiable manuscripts. Publication misrepresentations were found in 42 (18%) of the remaining 233 applications. The most common misrepresentations were omission of authors (69%), nonauthorship (14%), and self-promotion on the author list (12%). A significantly higher percentage of foreign medical graduates listed publications (P < .001). The misrepresentation rate by foreign graduates (19%) did not differ significantly from that of US-trained graduates (13%) (P = .45).


Publication misrepresentation was present among pathology residency applicants. Similar rates were seen among US and non-US applicants. Percentages of misrepresentation among applicants to our pathology program and applicants to other medical specialties (18% and 17%, respectively) were comparable.

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