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Volume: Papers and Academic Promotion

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Editor, Journal of Clinical Investigation; and Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts

Ann Intern Med. 1987;106(1):146-149. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-106-1-146
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Beginning 2 centuries ago, commentators have seen an excessive volume of scientific publications as linked to intellectual confusion, poor research design, and fraud in science (1-4). If each contributor to the literature published new and substantive knowledge, one might agree with the counterargument that the scientific literature is growing appropriately in proportion to a rising number of scientists (5) and accept the literature glut with resignation. Much of today's research, however, is done by teams, which has led to a progressive increase in multiauthored papers (6). Because the convention in biomedical research holds that the first or last authors are


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