Underrecognition of Pathologist Contributions to Articles Published in a Major Multidisciplinary Medical Journal
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The Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) is a high-impact multidisciplinary medical journal. We have observed instances in which a pathology diagnosis, documented with gross or microscopic images, forms an integral part of a CMAJ article, but a pathologist is neither an author nor acknowledged as a contributor. To examine the hypothesis that pathologist contributions are underrecognized and/or underdocumented, we reviewed all CMAJ articles over a 6-year period (September 2003-2009), and correlated the use of pathology images with pathologist authorship or contribution. For each article containing pathology images, department affiliations of authors were determined, and acknowledgments were assessed. Although only 1.7% of articles contained pathology images, 47% (26/55) of these articles did not include a pathologist as either an author or a contributor. We conclude that important intellectual contributions of pathologists are underrecognized and suggest that the scientific credibility of pathology data is in doubt when pathologists do not take on full responsibility of authorship or are not acknowledged as contributors.
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