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February 2009

The image illustrates this month's debate (Gøtzsche et al. e1000023) on ghostwriting in medical literature: the failure to name, as an author, an individual who has made substantial contributions to an article. Three different viewpoints are taken in the debate, but all contributors agree that a transparent declaration of author contributions is an essential element of a published article.

The need to increase awareness of ghostwriting, and develop robust journal policies regarding the practice, is one of five proposals set out in this month's editorial (PLoS Medicine Editors e1000038). It suggests ways that might help those involved in the publication process to recognize, and avoid, the influence of biased agendas on the published scientific record. The editors also suggest that journals consider declaration of both editors' and authors' competing interests, including non-commercial interests such as political or religious views; a policy requiring the submission of original protocols for clinical trials; and publication of negative, or inconclusive, results. The editorial stresses that it is the responsibility of everyone involved in the research enterprise to ensure that the published record is an accurate and unbiased representation of the work that has been done.

Image Credit: Jacob Riis

The PLoS Medicine Debate

What Should Be Done To Tackle Ghostwriting in the Medical Literature?

Peter C Gøtzsche, Jerome P Kassirer, Karen L Woolley, Elizabeth Wager, Adam Jacobs, Art Gertel, Cindy Hamilton

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Health in Action

Tuberculosis Drug Resistance Mutation Database

Andreas Sandgren, Michael Strong, Preetika Muthukrishnan, Brian K Weiner, George M Church, Megan B Murray

Policy Forums

Neglected Disease Research and Development: How Much Are We Really Spending?

Mary Moran, Javier Guzman, Anne-Laure Ropars, Alina McDonald, Nicole Jameson, Brenda Omune, Sam Ryan, Lindsey Wu

Guidelines and Guidance

STrengthening the REporting of Genetic Association Studies (STREGA)— An Extension of the STROBE Statement

Julian Little, Julian P.T Higgins, John P.A Ioannidis, David Moher, France Gagnon, Erik von Elm, Muin J Khoury, Barbara Cohen, George Davey-Smith, Jeremy Grimshaw, Paul Scheet, Marta Gwinn, Robin E Williamson, Guang Yong Zou, Kim Hutchings, Candice Y Johnson, Valerie Tait, Miriam Wiens, Jean Golding, Cornelia van Duijn, John McLaughlin, Andrew Paterson, George Wells, Isabel Fortier, Matthew Freedman, Maja Zecevic, Richard King, Claire Infante-Rivard, Alex Stewart, Nick Birkett

Research in Translation

Malaria Control with Transgenic Mosquitoes

John M Marshall, Charles E Taylor

Learning Forum

A 21-Year-Old Pregnant Woman with Hypertension and Proteinuria

Andrea Luk, Ronald C. W Ma, Ching Wan Lam, Wing Hung Tam, Anthony W. I Lo, Enders K. W Ng, Alice P. S Kong, Wing Yee So, Chun Chung Chow

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Clinico-Pathological Discrepancies in the Diagnosis of Causes of Maternal Death in Sub-Saharan Africa: Retrospective Analysis

Jaume Ordi, Mamudo R Ismail, Carla Carrilho, Cleofé Romagosa, Nafissa Osman, Fernanda Machungo, Josep A Bombí, Juan Balasch, Pedro L Alonso, Clara Menéndez

Survival-Related Profile, Pathways, and Transcription Factors in Ovarian Cancer

Anne P. G Crijns, Rudolf S. N Fehrmann, Steven de Jong, Frans Gerbens, Gert Jan Meersma, Harry G Klip, Harry Hollema, Robert M. W Hofstra, Gerard J. te Meerman, Elisabeth G. E de Vries, Ate G. J van der Zee

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Psychotic Illness in First-Time Mothers with No Previous Psychiatric Hospitalizations: A Population-Based Study

Unnur Valdimarsdóttir, Christina M Hultman, Bernard Harlow, Sven Cnattingius, Pär Sparén

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Inadequate Dissemination of Phase I Trials: A Retrospective Cohort Study

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A Novel Diagnostic Target in the Hepatitis C Virus Genome

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Correction: Effect of Removing Direct Payment for Health Care on Utilisation and Health Outcomes in Ghanaian Children: A Randomised Controlled Trial

Evelyn Korkor Ansah, Solomon Narh-Bana, Sabina Asiamah, Vivian Dzordzordzi, Kingsley Biantey, Kakra Dickson, John Owusu Gyapong, Kwadwo Ansah Koram, Brian M Greenwood, Anne Mills, Christopher J. M Whitty

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