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A ghost in every corner!

Posted by ixedoc on 31 Aug 2011 at 13:01 GMT

As a medical academic with a fair exposure to ethics of reporting on research as presentation or publication, I am amazed at why the medical world cries at and shies away from acknowledging the omnipotent presence and postive role 'ghost writers' play in the health science sector.

Why is quite okay and often lauded when the President of the USA spouts a ghostwritten speech - it is always 'thumbs up' when a confessionary personal dirge such as an autobiography, finds print and acceptance in litereary circles: it is passe to hire trained architect to convert your dream-house into a real house ...but why must it be no, no and a tsk, tsk when a medical professional struggling in wordsmithy seeks the services of an adept writer? What is so abnoxious or odious about being a researcher of some standing but a writer of no caliber simultaneously? Polymaths are as rare in the medical arena as they are in other fields.
I for one would have no hesitation in seeking the help of trained and experienced technical scribes if I ever needed one.
I see no ethic being violated, if anything, through the 'ghost' I may well be improving the quality of my observations to more presentable (and readable) levels. As a editor, I myself have noted that many seminal manuscripts submitted for review and possible publication, find themselves mired in and moored, for the lack and limitations in authorship skills - which include, a grasp over lexicon, language and legalese.
'Ghost writers' have a place and a pretty important one too: the more readily medical professionals and publishing houses accept ground reality, the better for all concerned.
Maybe, some day, the 'ghost' may even find recognition as someone real and have his/her name included as a co-authors.
Porf. Arunachalam Kumar
Nitte University, Mangalore 575018, India

No competing interests declared.