Women Academics More Likely to Report Pressure to Add “Honorary Authors” to Papers Than Men

A new study by researchers at the University of Alabama, Huntsville finds that women academics are more likely to be pressured to add additional authors who have made minimal contributions to papers than is the case for male authors.

The researchers surveyed more than 110,000 academics in 18 different disciplines and received more than 12,000 responses. More than 35 percent of the respondents admitted to adding an author to a research paper who they thought did not deserve to be included among the authors. The study found that women academics were 38 percent more likely than their male counterparts to have felt obliged to add an author to a manuscript that did not deserve to be credited with a meaningful contribution. In the survey, academics were asked why they added so-called “honorary authors.” More than 21 percent said they added an author “because the added individual was in a position of authority and could affect the scholar’s career.”

The authors conclude that “there is a significant level of deception in authorship and citation research. While it would be naive to suppose that academics are above such scheming to enhance their position, the results suggest otherwise.”

The full study, “Authorship and Citation Manipulation in Academic Research,” was published on the PLOS One website. It may be downloaded by clicking here.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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