Guest Authorship

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A practice in which senior researchers are listed as co-authors—despite having had little to do with the work involved in publishing original research reports—on research reports that are the works of others,e.g., undergraduates and postdoctoral fellows working in their lab
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References in periodicals archive ?
Aquatic Sciences and Engineering requires corresponding authors to submit a signed and scanned version of the authorship contribution form (available for download through during the initial submission process in order to act appropriately on authorship rights and to prevent ghost or honorary authorship. If the editorial board suspects a case of "gift authorship," the submission will be rejected without further review.
Honorary authorship is the intentional misrepresentation of credit to an individual whose contributions to a biomedical article do not meet the criteria for authorship established by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which is composed of editors of prestigious scientific journals from all continents.
Results reflect honorary authorship occurred 42% of the time, with ghost authorship occurring 27.6% of the time.
Several reasons have been offered to explain this authorship growth, including increased researcher collaboration, honorary authorship driven by increased pressures for funding and promotion, the belief that including senior authors will facilitate publication, and the growing complexity of medical research.
Collusive inclusion in authorship, called guest or honorary authorship is ascribed to an apparently impartial academician or contract research organization.
These falls in the category of Guest-Gift or Honorary authorship. It is authorship granted in appreciation, respect, or a big name which can increase the credibility and likelihood of acceptance of the article.5,6
Honorary authorship can be prestigious, but could be perceived as a form of bribery.
But the research paper "Mismeasurement of science", by Cambridge's Lawrence, raises issues about the growth in inappropriate honorary authorship and increased authorships of papers to an extent that hides true contributions.
Honorary authorship is not, of course, a new phenomenon, but it is
(a) "streaming" or autoplagiarism, the serial publication of many articles on the same subject with little new material in each (citing Ross McDonald, and Snodgrass); (b) "salami science" or "L.P.U." (least publishable unit) in which the research material is divided up into as many different articles as possible (citing Snodgrass); (c) the publishing of work claiming to be new without adequate reference to existing literature (citing Ross McDonald); (d) honorary authorship, which attributes authorship to parties who contributed little or nothing (citing Brogan & Brogan, and Cooper); and (e) the question of the comparative weight to be given to jointly authored publications (citing Bayer & Smart).
The surveyors defined "honorary authorship (guest or gift authorship)" as "naming, as an author, an individual who does not meet authorship criteria." "Ghost authorship" was defined as "failure to name, as an author, an individual who has made substantial contributions to the research or writing of the article." They found 156 articles showing evidence of honorary authorship, 93 of ghost authorship, and 13 of both.
Guest and gift authorships (also called honorary authorships) are similar in that each represents the inclusion of an author who does not meet the criteria for authorship.