Ghost authorship in research papers 'serves the commercial purposes' of drug companies, a study has shown.
The researchers studied 44 industry-initiated trials. They found ghost authorship in 31 (75%) trials, which included writing the trial protocol, performing the statistical analyses, or writing the manuscript.
Ghost authorship increased to 91% when they included cases where a person qualifying for authorship was acknowledged rather than appearing as an author.
The authors concluded that protocols for authorship should be made publicly available, in order to 'improve transparency and accountability', avoid misleading readers and reduce the potential for manipulating analyses.