Medical Writing Medical Writing Education EMWA's position on ghostwriting

Volume 22, Issue 1 - Medical Writing Education

EMWA's position on ghostwriting

The European Medical Writers Association would like to make it clear that, contrary to what you may have read in a recently published popular science book, it is not a ‘ghostwriters' association’. EMWA is an association for professional medical writers, and deplores ghostwriting. We have published guidelines for the role of medical writers in publications, which make it clear that ghostwriting is unacceptable.1

EMWA notes the important distinction between ghostwriting, which is unethical, and professional medical writing assistance, which is legitimate and desirable.2 Ghostwriting is what happens when someone writes a paper for publication in the medical literature, and neither the identity of the writer nor the funding source of the writing is disclosed to the reader. In contrast, EMWA guidelines state that the contribution of medical writers and their funding source should be made explicit. A medical writer who does not fulfil a journal's authorship criteria, and is therefore not eligible to be listed as an author, must be listed in an acknowledgements section to avoid ghostwriting.

Research evidence shows that the involvement of professional medical writers in publications is associated with fewer retractions for misconduct3 and better compliance with reporting guidelines.4

EMWA is committed to continuing efforts towards the eradication of ghostwriting in the medical literature. Anyone who has any constructive suggestions for how EMWA could more effectively achieve this aim is welcome to contact us.

References

  1. Jacobs A, Wager E. European Medical Writers Association (EMWA) guidelines on the role of medical writers in developing peer-reviewed publications. Curr Med Res Opin 2005;21:317–21.
  2. Woolley KL. Goodbye Ghostwriters! How to work ethically and efficiently with professional medical writers. Chest 2006;130:921–3.
  3. Woolley KL, Lew RA, Stretton S, Ely JA, Bramich NJ, Keys JR, et al. Lack of involvement of medical writers and the pharmaceutical industry in publications retracted for misconduct: a systematic, controlled, retrospective study. Curr Med Res Opin 2011;27:1175–82.
  4. Jacobs A. Adherence to the CONSORT guideline in papers written by professional medical writers. The Write Stuff 2010;19:196–200.

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Articles

Medical writing education
Message from the President
EMWA's position on ghostwriting
Essential modules for teaching publication writers
Combined workshops on medical writing and publication ethics for Japanese postgraduate students and faculty members
Teaching scientific writing to non-native English speakers
A field guide to medical writing training
Teaching scientific writing using the learner-centred approach
On educating the medical writer
Learning and teaching clinical writing
Your professional association: A great way to expand your skills and advance your career
Pleasing the reader by pleasing the eye—Part 2 Page layout and readability
Implications of clinical trial data sharing for medical writers
In the Bookstores
Journal Watch
The Webscout
Manuscript Writing
Regulatory Writing
Medical Journalism
Medical Communication
Out On Our Own
The Light Stuff

Member Login

Links

The Write Stuff Archive Contact Instructions for Authors Article Template (Word) Journal Policies

Editoral Board

Editor-in-Chief

Raquel Billiones

Co-Editors

Evguenia Alechine

Jonathan Pitt

Managing Editor

Victoria White

Deputy Managing Editor

Alicia Waltman

Associate Editors

Anuradha Alahari

Jennifer Bell

Clare Chang

Barbara Grossman

Joselita T. Salita

Amy Whereat

Section Editors

Nicole Bezuidenhout 

Digital Communication

Somsuvro Basu

EMWA News       

Aurélie Gobet / Paolo Rega

Gained in Translation

Raquel Billiones

Getting Your Foot in the Door

Wendy Kingdom / Amy Whereat

Good Writing Practice

Alison McIntosh / Stephen Gilliver

In the Bookstores

Maria Kołtowska-Häggström

Lingua Franca and Beyond

Phil Leventhal

Manuscript Writing

Lisa Chamberlain-James

Medical Communications/Writing for Patients

Namrata Upadhyay

Medical Devices

Evguenia Alechine

My First Medical Writing

Anuradha Alahari

News from the EMA

Laura Kehoe

Out on Our Own

Jennifer Clemens

Regulatory Matters

Sam Hamilton

Regulatory Public Disclosure

Claire Gudex

Teaching Medical Writing

Kimi Uegaki

The Crofter: Sustainable Communications

Karim Montasser

Veterinary Writing

Editors Emeritus

Elise Langdon-Neuner

Phil Leventhal

Lay out Designer

Chris Monk