Short reports and Correspondence| Volume 60, ISSUE 8, P956-957, August 2007

‘How many plastic surgeons does it take to write a research article?’ – Authorship proliferation in and internationalisation of the plastic surgery literature

Published:February 10, 2007DOI:
      There has been a rising trend in multiple authorship in several fields of scientific literature. We conducted a study to evaluate the changing trends in the international contribution and authorship of articles within the Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (PRS) and the British Journal of Plastic Surgery (BJPS, now Journal of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery) over the last 50 years.
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      Linked Article

      • Discussion of ‘How many plastic surgeons does it take to write a research article?’
        Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic SurgeryVol. 61Issue 3
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          Durani and coworkers analysed the mean number of authors per article in this journal and Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery between 1955 and 2005. They only studied ‘journal articles’ and specifically excluded letters to the editor. They noted that ‘the proportion of articles with six or more authors increased significantly over time, particularly between 1985 and 2005’. Unbeknownst to these researchers, Frank McDowell, who reigned as editor of that journal from 1967 to 1979, railed against multiple authorship.
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      • Authorship in surgical articles
        Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic SurgeryVol. 73Issue 5
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          Many question the validity of authorship allocation, with studies confirming an increasing number of authors per article in surgery over time, particularly in plastic surgery.1 Several factors have been attributed to this, including increased complexity and collaborations, and the inherently competitive nature of the speciality, rendering publications a necessity in the curriculum vitae.2 Cynics have suggested that ‘guest authorship’, inclusion of an individual not meeting the authorship criteria, is a contributory factor secondary to the pressures of ‘publish or perish’.
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