F. R. H. Nurmohamed, I. Voigt, Preshant Awadpersad
Jul 28, 2021
Journal of Clinical Orthopaedics and Trauma
Purpose To facilitate decision-making in authorship positions, the International Committee of Medical Journal Editor (ICMJE) developed a guideline that stipulates criteria authors should meet in order to merit authorship. Authors who did not meet these criteria and still enlisted as authors, are called 'honorary' authors. In this study, the prevalence and characteristics of honorary authorship (HA) is assessed in the field of Orthopedics and Sports Medicine. Methods A survey was distributed among corresponding authors of articles published in 2019 in six Orthopedics-dedicated journals. Results 479 of the 1392 approached authors responded, leading to a response rate of 34.4%. 91.6% of the respondents were aware of the ICMJE guidelines, whereas 67.8% were aware of the issue of HA. Overall, the prevalence of guideline-based HA was 41.9%, while the prevalence of self-perceived HA was 14.7%. Having a senior member automatically enlisted as author on the departments, was associated with a higher rate of guideline-based HA (OR 5.03) and self-perceived HA (OR 3.31). Conclusions The prevalence of HA in the field of Orthopedics and Sports Medicine is high, but comparable to other medical fields. Transparency in authorship decision-making is crucial to maintain liability in scientific articles.