Integrity is defined as a firm adherence to a code of specifically moral or artistic values. It constitutes one of society’s main fundaments, if not the angular one. Inappropriate authorship, which constitutes a break in research integrity, is unacceptable since it betrays research’s principles, duties and ethical responsibilities to both scientific and lay society.
In order to decrease the prevalence of inappropriate authorship, health research has implemented well-defined criteria for authorship as outlined by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) in its Ethical Considerations in the Conduct and Reporting of Research. A recent study reported a prevalence of articles with honorary authorship or ghost authorship, or both, of 21.0% (95% CI 18.0% to 24.3%). Sadly there is no data on the prevalence of inappropriate authorship among the 14 Mexican edited and currently MedLine indexed journals; further more only four of them explicitly outline and require proof of compliance with the ICMJE recommended criteria for authorship.
To reduce this type of plagiarism among scientific journals, authorship criteria must be diffused and policies to enforce appropriate authorship must be implemented by all the involved parties.
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