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Minimal Prevalence of Authorship Misrepresentation among Internal Medicine Residency Applicants: Do Previous Estimates of “Misrepresentation” Represent Insufficient Case Finding?

Randy S. Hebert, MD, MPH; Cheri G. Smith, MLS; and Scott M. Wright, MD
[+] Article and Author Information

From Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center and Harrison Medical Library, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.


Grant Support: Dr. Wright is an Arnold P. Gold Foundation Assistant Professor of Medicine.

Requests for Single Reprints: Randy S. Hebert, MD, MPH, Division of General Internal Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, 933W, MUH, 200 Lothrop Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213; e-mail, hebertrs@msx.upmc.edu.

Current Author Addresses: Dr. Hebert: Division of General Internal Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, 933W, MUH, 200 Lothrop Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213.

Ms. Smith: Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Harrison Medical Library, 4940 Eastern Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21224.

Dr. Wright: Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, A6W, 4940 Eastern Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21224.

Author Contributions: Conception and design: R.S. Hebert and S.M. Wright.

Analysis and interpretation of the data: R.S. Hebert and S.M. Wright.

Drafting of the article: R.S. Hebert, C.G. Smith, and S.M. Wright.

Critical revision of the article for important intellectual content: R.S. Hebert, C.G. Smith, and S.M. Wright.

Final approval of the article: R.S. Hebert, C.G. Smith, and S.M. Wright.

Provision of study materials or patients: R.S. Hebert.

Statistical expertise: R.S. Hebert.

Administrative, technical, or logistic support: R.S. Hebert, C.G. Smith, and S.M. Wright.

Collection and assembly of data: R.S. Hebert, C.G. Smith, and S.M. Wright.


Ann Intern Med. 2003;138(5):390-392. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-138-5-200303040-00008
Text Size: A A A

Background: High rates of authorship misrepresentation have been documented among medical trainees.

Objective: To assess misrepresentation among internal medicine residency applicants while comparing searches used by previous authors (searches 1 and 2) to a more comprehensive strategy (search 3).

Design: Review of 497 residency applications.

Setting: Two university-based internal medicine residency programs.

Measurements: Search 1 was limited to MEDLINE. Search 2 added Current Contents, Science Citation Index, and BIOSIS and included searching journals by hand. Search 3 added seven other databases and contacts to librarians, editors, and coauthors.

Results: 224 applicants reported 634 articles; 630 (99%) were verified. The number of applicants with misrepresented citations varied depending on the search used (56 applicants [25%] in search 1 vs. 34 applicants [15%] in search 2 vs. 4 applicants [1.8%] in search 3).

Conclusions: Using a comprehensive search, we found substantially less misrepresentation than had been reported. Previous studies probably overestimated the magnitude of the problem.

Figures

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Figure.
Percentage of applicants whose citations would be characterized as misrepresented by using different search strategies.

The percentage of applicants with published articles that are classified as misrepresented is considerably different depending on the search strategy used.

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Summary for Patients

Do Applicants to Internal Medicine Residency Programs Misrepresent Publications?

The summary below is from the full report titled “Minimal Prevalence of Authorship Misrepresentation among Internal Medicine Residency Applicants: Do Previous Estimates of ‘Misrepresentation’ Represent Insufficient Case Finding?” It is in the 4 March 2003 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine (volume 138, pages 390-392). The authors are RS Hebert, CG Smith, and SM Wright.

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