Changes in the character of medical authorship.
To compare the impact of industry-linked and non-industry linked articles.
We compared articles on sertraline being coordinated by a medical writing agency with articles not coordinated in this way. We calculated numbers of Medline-listed articles per author, journal impactfactors, literature profiles and citation rates of both sets of articles.
Non-agency-linked articles on sertraline had an average of 2.95 authors per article, a mean length of 3.4 pages, a mean Medline listing of 37 articles per author (95% CI 27–47) and a mean literature profile of 283 per article (95% CI 130–435). Agency-linked articles on sertraline had an average of 6.6 authors per article, a mean length of 10.7 pages, a mean Medline listing of 70 articles per author (95% CI 62–79) and a mean literature profile of 1839 per article (95% CI 1076-2602). The citation rate for agency articles was 20.2 (95% CI 13.4–27.0) and for non-agency articles it was 3.7 (95% CI 3.3–8.1).
The literature profiles and citation rates of industry-linked and non-industry-linked articles differ. The emerging style of authorship in industry-linked articles can deliver good-quality articles, but it raises concerns for the scientific base of therapeutics.
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