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Table of Contents: August 2011

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Three papers in the August issue bring new light to the problem of medical ghostwriting: the failure to name, as an author, an individual who has made substantial contributions to an article. Two of these articles offer remedies that the PLoS Medicine Editors in this month’s editorial argue must be seriously considered given the evidence of wider “ghost management” of the medical literature and the fact that current attempts to reduce ghostwriting are not succeeding. A Policy Forum by Simon Stern and Trudo Lemmens argues that the related problem of “guest authorship” — claiming credit for an article written by someone else — constitutes “legal fraud” and that the “same fraud could support claims of ‘fraud on the court’ against a pharmaceutical company that has used ghostwritten articles in litigation.” A Perspective by Alistair Matheson, an academic and commercial consultant, proposes fundamental revision of the ICMJE (International Committee of Medical Journal Editors) guidelines to give the concept of origination as much importance as authorship and contributorship, and proposes that writers and companies who work on industry publications should be listed as byline authors. Another Perspective by Linda Logdberg describes her personal experience of working in the medical communications industry and how she participated in ghostwriting until she came across an example that clashed with her personal beliefs. A collection launched this month brings together articles on ghostwriting previously published in PLoS Medicine and PLoS ONE. For PLoS Medicine’s involvement in 2009 in the litigation relating to the Prempro ghostwriting case, see the Wyeth Ghostwriting Archive.

Essay

Policy Forums

Building the Field of Health Policy and Systems Research: Framing the Questions

Kabir Sheikh, Lucy Gilson, Irene Akua Agyepong, Kara Hanson, Freddie Ssengooba, Sara Bennett

Building the Field of Health Policy and Systems Research: Social Science Matters

Lucy Gilson, Kara Hanson, Kabir Sheikh, Irene Akua Agyepong, Freddie Ssengooba, Sara Bennett

Building the Field of Health Policy and Systems Research: An Agenda for Action

Sara Bennett, Irene Akua Agyepong, Kabir Sheikh, Kara Hanson, Freddie Ssengooba, Lucy Gilson

Research Articles

Are HIV Epidemics among Men Who Have Sex with Men Emerging in the Middle East and North Africa?: A Systematic Review and Data Synthesis

Ghina Mumtaz, Nahla Hilmi, Willi McFarland, Rachel L. Kaplan, Francisca Ayodeji Akala, Iris Semini, Gabriele Riedner, Oussama Tawil, David Wilson, Laith J. Abu-Raddad

Commercial Serological Tests for the Diagnosis of Active Pulmonary and Extrapulmonary Tuberculosis: An Updated Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Karen R. Steingart, Laura L. Flores, Nandini Dendukuri, Ian Schiller, Suman Laal, Andrew Ramsay, Philip C. Hopewell, Madhukar Pai

Population Density, Water Supply, and the Risk of Dengue Fever in Vietnam: Cohort Study and Spatial Analysis

Wolf-Peter Schmidt, Motoi Suzuki, Vu Dinh Thiem, Richard G. White, Ataru Tsuzuki, Lay-Myint Yoshida, Hideki Yanai, Ubydul Haque, Le Huu Tho, Dang Duc Anh, Koya Ariyoshi

Neonatal Mortality Levels for 193 Countries in 2009 with Trends since 1990: A Systematic Analysis of Progress, Projections, and Priorities

Mikkel Zahle Oestergaard, Mie Inoue, Sachiyo Yoshida, Wahyu Retno Mahanani, Fiona M. Gore, Simon Cousens, Joy E. Lawn, Colin Douglas Mathers , on behalf of the United Nations Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation and the Child Health Epidemiology Reference Group

Changes in Drug Utilization during a Gap in Insurance Coverage: An Examination of the Medicare Part D Coverage Gap

Jennifer M. Polinski, William H. Shrank, Haiden A. Huskamp, Robert J. Glynn, Joshua N. Liberman, Sebastian Schneeweiss

Reporting Guidelines for Survey Research: An Analysis of Published Guidance and Reporting Practices

Carol Bennett, Sara Khangura, Jamie C. Brehaut, Ian D. Graham, David Moher, Beth K. Potter, Jeremy M. Grimshaw

Corporate Social Responsibility and Access to Policy Élites: An Analysis of Tobacco Industry Documents

Gary J. Fooks, Anna B. Gilmore, Katherine E. Smith, Jeff Collin, Chris Holden, Kelley Lee