Authorship confers credit and has important academic, social, and financial implications. Authorship also implies responsibility and accountability for published work.
A guest author is an author listed on a paper who did not contribute to the work. A ghost author is an author who contributed significantly to the work but is not listed as an author.
The ICMJE recommends that authorship be based on the following 4 criteria:
- Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; AND
- Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; AND
- Final approval of the version to be published; AND
- Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.
In addition to being accountable for the parts of the work he or she has done, an author should be able to identify which co-authors are responsible for specific other parts of the work. In addition, authors should have confidence in the integrity of the contributions of their co-authors. For more information on authorship, please see the following resources:
- ICMJE: Defining the role of authors and contributors
- Elsevier author services: Gift authorship and ghost authorship
- Enago Academy: What is ghost, guest, and gift authorship in research?
- CRediT: Taxonomy of author roles
Authorship conflicts and ghost and guest authors are prevalent in publishing. We will be adding links to research on the prevalence and characteristics of these issues below. Note that we have not yet identified research on these issues that is specific to complementary, alternative and integrative medicine. If you are interested in carrying out a project, please contact our Field as we would be happy to collaborate.