1. Anthony, Maureen PHD, RN

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The editor of American Journal of Nursing, Maureen Shawn Kennedy along with colleagues Jane Barnsteiner and John Daly recently published a study on honorary and ghost authorship in the Journal of Nursing Scholarship. A quick review-honorary authorship is when people who do not meet the criteria for authorship are named as authors. Let's say, for example, that a researcher conducts a study at a clinic and includes as an author a healthcare provider who helped her gain access to the patient population. This person was her "foot in the door" but didn't participate in the research, or perhaps just helped with some of the data collection. The researcher may feel obligated to include this person as an author, particularly if she hopes to conduct research at this clinic again in the future. Another example is the automatic inclusion of faculty on student papers. Students may feel pressured by faculty or may be led to believe this is routine and appropriate. (Of course there are circumstances when faculty contribute substantially to student papers and should be included as authors.) Ghost authorship, on the other hand, occurs when a person other than those named as authors did a significant amount of work on the article. An example of when ghost authorship might occur is with the use of a professional writing service.

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In the study by Kennedy et al. (2014), the researchers sent surveys to authors of articles published in 10 nursing journals over 3 years. The study found that 42% of the articles had honorary authors, and 27.6% had ghost authors. This suggests that honorary and ghost authorship is more prevalent in nursing publications than previous studies have found in medical journals. The participants in the Kennedy et al. study also completed a qualitative portion. These results suggested that education on proper attribution is needed for authors. Many were not aware of the current criteria for authorship.


So readers, here they are. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors recommends the following four criteria for determining authorship:


1. substantial contributions to conception and design, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data;


2. drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content;


3. final approval of the version to be published; and


4. agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.



All four criteria must be met for each individual listed as an author. Individuals who contributed but did not meet all four criteria can be, and should be, acknowledged for their contributions.


On another note, we have a great lineup of articles for you this issue. Author Margherita Labson, Executive Director of the Joint Commission Home Care Program, writes about how home healthcare agencies (HHAs) have adapted the Joint Commission's Seven Foundations of Safe and Effective Transitions of Care to Home. This is a practical, useful guide for any HHA that is working to improve care transitions. Dr. Diana Mager has written two clinical update articles, one on polymyalgia rheumatica and the other on methotrexate, a drug commonly used for polymyalgia rheumatica, some cancers, as well as autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Author and editorial board member Mary Narayan reports on the second annual International Home Care Nurse Organization (IHCNO) meeting in Singapore last July. Nursing readers may want to join this international group, and meet home care nurses from around the world. Visit the IHCNO Web site at: The 2015 ICHNO meeting will be held in July in Chicago, Illinois. New author Katherine Marshall brings an informative article about dementia and reminds readers that we all need to educate ourselves on this increasingly prevalent condition. Jennifer Jachimiec and coauthors conducted a review of the literature on interactions between parents of technology-dependent children and healthcare providers.


I want to take this opportunity to welcome new HHN editorial board members. Because we officially became an interprofessional journal, we have recently added two board members who represent important professions in home healthcare. Cindy Krafft, PT, MS, is CEO/Partner with Kornetti & Krafft Health Care Solutions in Citrus Springs Florida, and Kevin Fuji, PharmD, is an Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice and Assistant Director Center for Health Services Research and Patient Safety at Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska. Both bring a wealth of expertise, knowledge, and experience to Home Healthcare Now. Welcome Cindy and Kevin!


Finally, we honor our esteemed colleagues, as we celebrate Registered Dietitian Day on Wednesday, March 11, 2015. Thank you to registered dietitians everywhere for all you do for home care patients.




International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. (n.d.). Defining the role of authors and contributors. Retrieved from


Kennedy M. S., Barnsteiner J., Daly J. (2014). Honorary and ghost authorship in nursing publications. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 46(6), 416-422. [Context Link]