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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 32  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 199-202

Honorary authorships in the ophthalmological literature

1 Department of Ophthalmology, Erasmus MC: University Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
2 Department of Neurosurgery, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands

Correspondence Address:
Pravesh S Gadjradj
Department of Neurosurgery, Leiden University Medical Center, Albinusdreef 2, 2333 ZA Leiden
The Netherlands
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/JOCO.JOCO_104_20

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Purpose: To report the prevalence of honorary authorship (HA) among different journals in the ophthalmological literature Methods: An online survey was conducted among corresponding authors of six journals with the highest impact factors in the ophthalmological field. The survey consists of questions regarding (1) demographics, (2) awareness of authorship guidelines, and (3) application of authorship guidelines on their current surveyed article. Furthermore, respondents were asked if they felt that according to their understanding of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJEs) guidelines, a coauthor on their current article did not deserve authorship (perceived HA). Furthermore, respondents were asked if coauthors performed solely nonauthor tasks (ICMJE-defined HA). Results: Out of the 1688 surveys sent, 333 were returned, leading to a response rate of 19.7%. Eighty-four and a half percent of all respondents were aware of the ICMJE guidelines. When deciding on order of authorship, most authors decided as a group (43.8%), followed by the senior author deciding (30.1%), and 77 articles were decided by the first author (23.4%). When asked if respondents believed that any of their coauthors did not make sufficient contributions to be included as an author, 8.8% affirmed. One hundred and thirty-one respondents stated that any of their coauthors performed only one or more nonauthor tasks, making the rate of ICMJE-defined HA 39.8%. Conclusions: HA is present throughout all journals surveyed despite endorsement of the ICMJE guidelines by these same journals. The discrepancy between self-perceived HA and ICMJE-defined HA suggests the necessity for modifications to our authorship system or a contemporary revision to the ICMJE guidelines.

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