Monday, January 28, 2008


Sergio Sismondo in PLoS Medicine: Ghost Management: How Much of the Medical Literature Is Shaped Behind the Scenes by the Pharmaceutical Industry?

... This article enlarges the focus from ghost writing to the more general ghost management of medical research and publishing: when pharmaceutical companies and their agents control or shape multiple steps in the research, analysis, writing, and publication of articles. Such articles are “ghostly” because signs of their actual production are largely invisible—academic authors whose names appear at the tops of ghost-managed articles give corporate research a veneer of independence and credibility. They are “managed” because those companies shape the eventual message conveyed by the article or by a suite of articles. As discussed below, a substantial percentage of medical journal articles (in addition to meeting presentations and other forms of publication, which are not the focus here) are ghost managed, allowing the pharmaceutical industry considerable influence on medical research, and making that research a vehicle for marketing.

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While we are on the topic of ghosts, check out Gina Barreca' take on the gender differences among ghosts:

I noticed that most ghost stories written by women have, as their leads, female ghosts; I also noticed that it seems to be female ghosts haunting those b&bs and old hotels. Why is there such a difference between how women and men are haunted by a sense of the past, not to mention the differences between how boy ghosts and girl ghosts actually do the haunting?