When authorship disputes arise in academic publishing, research institutions may be asked to investigate the circumstances. We evaluated the association between the prevalence of misattributed authorship and trust in the institution involved.
‘Whenever author disputes arise, if the authors cannot resolve their conflict, journal editors and publishers should not assume that the authors’ institution is the appropriate authority for clarifying conflicts between researchers’ (p10). Authorship disputes can be toxic and devastating, especially for HDR candidates another early career researchers. Institutions must have clear policies about ghost/gift and author displacement. Such policies can enhance the trustworthiness and reputation oF an institution. This open access paper takes a look at the issues.
A total of 197 responses were analyzed. Increased reporting of authorship misconduct, such as gift authorship, author displacement within the authors’ order on the byline, and ghost authorship, were associated with low Trust Scores (P<0.001). Respondents from institutions whose administration had made known (declared or published) their policy on authorship in academic publications awarded the highest Trust Scores (median 3.06, interquartile range 2.25 to 3.56). Only 17.8% favored their administration as the best authority to investigate authorship dispute honestly. Of those who did not list the administration as their preferred option for resolving disputes, 58.6% (95/162) provided a Trust Score <2.5, which conveys mistrust in the institution.
Increased reporting of publication misconducts such as gift authorship, author displacement within the order of the authors’ byline, and ghost authorship was associated with lower Trust Scores in the research institutions. Institutions that made their policies known were awarded the highest Trust Scores. Our results question whether the research institutions’ administrations are the appropriate authority for clarifying author disputes in all cases.
Conflict of interest statement
Conflict of interest: Itamar Ashkenazi is an associate editor for Rambam Maimonides Medical Journal and a board member of other journals. He is also a council member in COPE. The opinions conveyed represent the author’s personal views. Due to a potential conflict of interest, Itamar Ashkenazi recused himself from the decision-making process throughout the publishing process. Oded Olsha has no competing interest to declare.
Data Availability Statement:
Data will be made available by Itamar Ashkenazi.* * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: email@example.com
Ashkenazi, I., & Olsha, O. (2023). Authorship Disputes in Scholarly Biomedical Publications and Trust in the Research Institution. Rambam Maimonides medical journal, 14(3), e0015. https://doi.org/10.5041/RMMJ.10503
Publisher (Open Access): https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37555719/