As a medical writer, can or should I be listed as an author of an article?
For manuscripts, medical writers often go far beyond providing basic services and therefore may feel entitled to authorship. Medical writers are often the main force behind an article and may provide much more intellectual input than simply putting the client's ideas into words, including interpretation and sometimes analysis of data, production of graphs and tables, and intellectual input into the presentation of the data and ideas. The medical writer often has much more input than some of the listed co-authors. Accordingly, many medical writers feel that they should qualify for authorship, perhaps even first authorship. Should they? And is it a good idea?
This touches on the sensitive issues of ghostwriting and ghost authorship, which are not discussed here but are discussed in EMWA's guidelines on the role of medical writers in developing peer-reviewed publications,1 as well as in EMWA's position statement on ghostwriting, which is published on EMWA's website and on page 3 of this issue.
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