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Are you sure?

Posted by AdamJacobs on 31 Aug 2011 at 08:30 GMT

and that current attempts to reduce the practices are not succeeding

It's hard to make an informed judgement here until I've seen the "other evidence" you mention above, but I know of 2 studies that have shown that the prevalence of ghostwriting in the medical literature is decreasing.

One study, by some of the team at JAMA, was published in 2009, and concluded "The prevalence of honorary authors has not changed significantly since 1996, but ghost authorship has declined significantly". You can read it at

My own research has also shown that the prevalance of ghostwriting is decreasing. See for more details.

This all depends, of course, on how you define success. If you define it as "are we going in the right direction?", then as far as I can tell, the evidence shows that we are succeeding. If you define it as "have we completely eliminated the problem?", then I'd agree that we haven't yet succeeded. There are certainly still some ghostwritten articles in the medical literature, and we all need to keep working towards their extinction.

Competing interests declared: As above