Academic journal article Iranian Journal of Public Health

Faculty Member's Views, Attitude and Current Practice as Regards International Committee of Medical Journal Editors Criteria for Authorship

Academic journal article Iranian Journal of Public Health

Faculty Member's Views, Attitude and Current Practice as Regards International Committee of Medical Journal Editors Criteria for Authorship

Article excerpt


Background: The objective of this study was to assess the knowledge and views of faculty members on criteria for authorship by International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), their current practice of choosing the authors, views on gift authorship and problems they had faced concerning authorship.

Methods: It was a cross sectional survey from January 2011 to July 2011 among faculty members of various private and public sector medical institutions of Pakistan through a self-administered questionnaire. Main outcome measures included awareness and use of ICMJE criteria, which contribution to research merit authorship and their perceptions about gift authorship.

Results: Two hundred eighteen faculty members (180 males, 38 females) participated in the study. One hundred twenty eight (58.7%) were from surgery and allied disciplines. Ninety six percent had published between one to five papers while 60(27.5%) had six to ten papers to their credit. One hundred eleven (50.9%) claimed they were aware about the authorship criteria, only twenty two (19.8%) could name this document. Only four (1.8%) could correctly state this. Only one hundred twenty (55.0%) said that all three criteria's must be met to be eligible for authorship. Ninety three (42.7%) said that they were not included as authors though they deserved it while sixty three said they did not merit but were still included. Forty two (19.3%) said that they were not aware when they were listed as authors.

Conclusion: A vast majority of young faculty members are not aware of the existence of authorship criteria and gift authorship is quite common.

Keywords: ICMJE, Journalism, Authorship criteria, Gift authorship, Faculty members


In most of the peer review publications in the late 17th century, authorship of papers generally used to be autonomous and was attributed to the sponsors (1). However, now the readers wish to know who paid for research and who did the work. Problems with authorship persist everywhere despite the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) criteria (2). Authorship is considered as currency in the field of biomedical sciences and most of the researchers open their first publication account either during their undergraduate or during postgraduate studies and then continue to add further when they acquire faculty positions (2). Someone with impressive research publications curriculum vitae (CV) has much better chances of selection and it also helps in further academic promotions. Strong publication record also leads to further publications, providing great career opportunities; they are preferred to be considered for tenure status appointments, grants and funding. In addition they also earn respect and admiration in the community of research scientists (3). Publish or perish has been very popular in the West now for many years. In the developing Third world countries, recognition and credit for published research work for academic appointments in medical institutions started only about two decades ago with the result that now faculty members are under compulsion to write and publish, hence at times the quality of their research is not very good. There is also a temptation to get gift authorship and this menace has been spreading everywhere. It is also considered quite common in the West. It is generally felt that manuscripts having too many authors certainly include a few whose names have been added without any intellectual contribution and they are the recipients of gift authorship. In order to overcome this problem, Renie proposed contributor-ship system many years ago (4). Listing contributor-ship has many advantages and it makes easier for the editors to detect ghost authors. European Medical Writers Association (EMWA) guidelines state that medical writes and statistician do not qualify for authorship but their role should be acknowledged (5). Issues related to authorship consist of almost 25% of the cases discussed at COPE meetings (6) and this issue is discussed at almost every Peer Review Congress and Medical Editors conferences held in different parts of the world. …

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