Research-integrity survey also suggests that there is a split in US and Europe-based researchers’ perceptions of ‘questionable research practices’.
Almost 70% of researchers based in Europe say that they have been involved in projects in the past three years that listed authors who did not contribute sufficiently to the work, according to a major survey. The survey also raises questions about whether academics in the United States are underestimating the prevalence of ‘questionable research practices’ (QRPs).
This piece and the research (Europe and US) it reports, is a significant concern. Gifting authorship, otherwise known as undeserved or honorary authorship, is unacceptable. Individuals should only be listed as an author if they meet agreed international standards of authorship (such as those issued by COPE and ICMJE) and where they have explicitly agreed to be named. Lab and centre directors, persons who secured the project funding, mentors, scientific/statistical advisers and community/cultural advisers who don’t meet the criteria should be acknowledged but named as authors. Gifting authorship to underserved persons is a breach of responsible conduct.
Around 69% of researchers based in Europe and roughly 55% in the United States said that they were aware of co-authors being listed who hadn’t contributed sufficiently, according to the survey results1, which were published before peer review on the MetaArXiv preprint server on 27 October.
Inadequate peer review and poor supervision were the next most common QRPs. Just under 54% of authors in Europe and nearly 50% of US respondents said peer review had not been conducted thoroughly on projects that they had worked on. More than 56% of US researchers reported inadequate supervision, compared with 49% of those in Europe.