Ghostwriting occurs when someone has made substantial contributions to writing a manuscript but this role is unacknowledged. In medicine, ghostwriting is problematical because it often involves pharmaceutical companies (or the medical communication companies that work for them) producing articles that promote the benefits of their health-care products while playing down their harm, and then masking their involvement in the development of the articles by recruiting academic “guest authors” to lend false credibility and independence. Because ghostwriting misrepresents authorship credit and accountability, it is considered to be unethical, dishonest, and a threat to the integrity of the medical literature. Fortunately, this previously “hidden” problem has been the focus of increasing research and commentary, including potential solutions to the problem of ghostwriting. Much of this research and commentary has appeared in PLoS journals, which we collect below.
More information can be found at the Wyeth ghostwriting archive, which was developed after PLoS Medicine and The New York Times intervened in 2009 into litigation brought against the pharmaceutical company Wyeth by thousands of women who developed breast cancer taking hormone therapy drugs, resulting in the public release of 1500 documents extensively detailing the company’s ghostwriting.
In addition, the topic of ghostwriting is frequently covered on PLoS Medicine’s blogsite, Speaking of Medicine.
We will update the Collection with new content periodically at www.ploscollections.org/ghostwriting.
PLOS Medicine: published 30 Aug 2011 | info:doi/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001084
PLOS Medicine: published 22 Dec 2009 | info:doi/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000203
PLOS Medicine: published 20 Oct 2009 | info:doi/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000167
PLOS Medicine: published 08 Sep 2009 | info:doi/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000156
PLOS Medicine: published 24 Feb 2009 | info:doi/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000038
PLOS Medicine: published 03 Feb 2009 | info:doi/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000023
PLOS Medicine: published 24 Jan 2012 | info:doi/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001163
PLOS Medicine: published 25 Sep 2007 | info:doi/10.1371/journal.pmed.0040286
PLOS Medicine: published 09 Aug 2011 | info:doi/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001071
PLOS Medicine: published 09 Aug 2011 | info:doi/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001072
PLOS Medicine: published 16 Jan 2007 | info:doi/10.1371/journal.pmed.0040034
PLOS Medicine: published 02 Aug 2011 | info:doi/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001070
PLOS Medicine: published 07 Sep 2010 | info:doi/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000335
PLOS Medicine: published 02 Feb 2010 | info:doi/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000230
PLOS Medicine: published 11 Nov 2008 | info:doi/10.1371/journal.pmed.0050223
PLOS Medicine: published 05 Apr 2011 | info:doi/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000431
PLOS Medicine: published 26 Oct 2010 | info:doi/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000354
PLOS ONE: published 31 Mar 2009 | info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0005092
PLOS Medicine: published 16 Jan 2007 | info:doi/10.1371/journal.pmed.0040019