Honorary authorship in high-impact journals in anaesthesia and pain medicine

Roshni H.S. Matawlie, Jamie R.J. Arjun Sharma, Judith D. de Rooij, Geetanjali Sardjoe Mishre, Frank J.P.M. Huygen, Pravesh S. Gadjradj*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
21 Downloads (Pure)


Enlisting an author on a published paper, whose input was insufficient, is called honorary authorship. The aim of this study is to assess the proportion of honorary authorship in the field of pain medicine. Data were collected from seven high-impact journals. Corresponding authors were sent a survey regarding their awareness on authorship guidelines, the decision-making in authorship and specific contributions made to the surveyed article. We identified two types of honorary authorship: (1) self-perceived honorary authorship, which is measured by asking the corresponding author if honorary authorship was present according to their opinion and (2) International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE)-defined honorary authorship, which is honorary authorship based on the guidelines. In total, 1051 mails were sent and 231 responded, leading to a response rate of 22.0%. 81.3% of the respondents were familiar with the ICMJE authorship guidelines, while 59.6% were aware of the issue of honorary authorship. 13.3% of the respondents were employed at a department in which the senior member is automatically included on all manuscripts. The ICMJE-defined honorary authorship was 40%, while self-perceived honorary authorship was 13.5%. There seems to be a high awareness of the ICMJE guidelines among corresponding authors in the field of Pain Medicine. Despite this high awareness, a high proportion of journal articles had honorary authorship, suggesting that authorship guidelines fail to be applied in a significant proportion of the literature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-248
Number of pages3
JournalBritish Journal of Pain
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The British Pain Society 2021.


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