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A Retrospective Analysis of 10-Year Authorship Trends in Biomedical Engineering Journals

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Studies have indicated that academic research has become increasingly complex and multidisciplinary. There seems to be an increasing trend of multiple author articles published across most journals. As the field of biomedical engineering also encompasses multidisciplinary-based knowledge, it is interesting to understand the authorship trend over time. In this study, six journals were carefully chosen from the Journal Citation Report of the Thomson Scientific based on predefined criteria (year 1999 to 2008). The data pertaining to authorships for the articles published in these journals were then acquired from the PubMed database. The results show that there is a general upward trend for the number of author per article, but it is not significant (p > .01) despite a 64.5% increase in the total number of article published in the six chosen journals. Thus, the expected increase is not observed in this field, and it may be due to the stringent guidelines by journals in defining the contributions of an author. Particularly, contributing factors like the impact of authorship irregularities is discussed herein.
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Keywords: authorship; journal impact factor; publication ethics; research integrity; research misconduct

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Electronic and Computer Engineering Division, School of Engineering, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore, Singapore

Publication date: 2011-03-01

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