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Author's reply to Follow-up from the Oncology Nursing Society's Clinical Journal of Nursing

Posted by plosmedicine on 15 Apr 2009 at 12:12 GMT

Author of comment:
Karen Woolley, PhD
CEO, ProScribe Medical Communications®
Associate Professor, University of Queensland, Australia and the University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia

Thank you for your letter. I commend you on providing your readership with guidance on how they can work with medical writers, but retain appropriate authorship control. Please know that professional medical writers and medical writing associations in the US, Europe and Asia Pacific region have a strong interest in ridding our profession of ghostwriters. We can't expect concerned medical journal editors and investigative journalists to be responsible for our ethical backbone! As it takes 'two to tango', I think academic organisations also have to do more to educate researchers that ghost authorship is unethical. We also need to do more research on medical writing practices, and the American Medical Writers Association will be taking a strong lead in this area. From our most recent research, I can say that our data on medical writers and fraudulent publications will challenge many common perceptions. Rounding up the usual suspects may be a rather impotent step - our data point to other suspects who may be far more suspect than medical writers! Again, thank you for clarifying your editorial policy on professional medical writers. I think you will find that medical writing organisations around the world are keen to work with editors who want to educate their readership about how to work ethically with professional medical writers.

No competing interests declared.