PLoS 9. August 2011
Academic authorship boosts the credibility of industry publications and masks their commercial function.
Alongside traditional “guest authorship” and ghostwriting, industry may simply exaggerate the contribution of named academic authors and downplay that of commercial writers, who are excluded from authorship but listed as contributors in the small print.
Rather than obstructing industry, the current International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) authorship guidelines provide a ready tool for misattributing authorship. Industry also relies on selective interpretations of key authorship concepts.
The ICMJE guidelines should be fundamentally revised and the concept of origination given comparable importance to authorship and contributorship.
Companies and writers who work on industry publications should be listed as byline authors.