Ending Honorary Authorship

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Science  31 Aug 2012:
Vol. 337, Issue 6098, pp. 1019
DOI: 10.1126/science.1224988


Credit for scientific research contributions must be clearly and appropriately assigned at the time of publication. This task has become increasingly complicated because of the number of different laboratories and coauthors involved in many studies. The good news is that academic institutions, funders, and publishers are exploring new ways to clarify attribution,* and many publishers now require disclosure of specific contributions for scientific authorship. As part of this effort, it is critical that the problem of honorary authorship be effectively addressed. According to a recent report, honorary authors were attached to 25% of research reports, 15% of review articles, and 11% of editorials published in six major medical journals in 2008.† It is time to end this practice.

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