And the Credit Goes to... - Ghost and Honorary Authorship Among Social Scientists

Pruschak, Gernot; Hopp, Christian (8 August 2019). And the Credit Goes to... - Ghost and Honorary Authorship Among Social Scientists Academy of Management Proceedings. Academy of Management

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Nowadays more research articles than ever possess multiple authors, enhancing better quality and higher productivity. However, this also enables ghost and honorary authorship. Existing research in the life sciences indicates that both malpractices occur rather frequently. This is problematic because these authorship issues alter academic rankings. To overcome that problem nature and life science journals require contribution disclosures upon paper submission. Social science journals do not apply this practice. We therefore ask the question whether ghost and honorary authorship exist in the social sciences. In order to answer this question we send out a survey investigating past authorship distribution and hypothetical authorship assignments to researchers around the globe. The results show that both malpractices occur in the social sciences with honorary authors outweighing ghost authors. Respondents’ authorship assignments for three hypothetical scenarios indicate that the majority of scholars award authorship correctly. Incorrect assignments derive largely from fearing the abuse of power through a supervisor. Based on these findings we recommend educating researchers on authorship criteria. Furthermore, we also urge social science journals to implement contribution disclosures.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


Business School > Business Foundations and Methods
Business School


Pruschak, Gernot and
Hopp, Christian0000-0002-4095-092X


H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management




Academy of Management




Gernot Pruschak

Date Deposited:

07 Jul 2021 13:46

Last Modified:

13 Jan 2023 11:00

Related URLs:

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Ethics in research; authorship credits; authorship criteria; honorary authorship; ghost authorship; questionable research practices; exploratory; survey research


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