Stella S. Daskalopoulou, MD, MSc, DIC, PhD; Dimitri P. Mikhailidis, MD, MSc
Potential Financial Conflicts of Interest: None disclosed.
Daskalopoulou S., Mikhailidis D.; Exorcising Ghosts and Unwelcome Guests. Ann Intern Med. 2006;144:149. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-144-2-200601170-00024
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2006;144(2):149.
TO THE EDITOR:
We applaud the editors of Annals for their effort to increase awareness regarding ghostwriting (1). Drs. Laine and Mulrow cite our editorial (2), but a slight correction is needed; they imply that the GATE principles were proposed by the European Medical Writers Association. Actually, we initially proposed these guidelines ourselves in our editorial (2). However, we were influenced by the association's statements and by our own experience when we formulated these guidelines.
There is increasing concern about ghostwriters because it is difficult to prove their existence. Therefore, whenever help from professional writers is necessary, it is imperative that the GATE principles are maintained. Maybe a uniform policy should be implemented by journals (in our editorial, we proposed a formula of acknowledgment statements to achieve maximum transparency). One key issue not addressed by Laine and Mulrow is the possibility of regulating professional writers. In other words, writers would need to be registered and evaluated to maintain minimum standards (2).
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