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Can a medical researcher have too many publications?

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The most prolific researchers may not be adhering to authorship guidelines

Medical research is a very competitive business, with a low success rate for grants and fellowships. To survive the competition, a researcher needs strong performance indicators, chief of which is the number of publications and associated citations. With publications, more is generally seen as better. However, I argue that very high publication rates should be seen as indicating poor authorship practices and should be discounted in evaluating track record.

The reason is that some researchers are claiming authorship on an extraordinary number of publications. To illustrate, using Publish or Perish software (Harzing, http://www.harzing.com/pop.htm), I did a publication count of the 27 Australian health and medical researchers listed on the Highly Cited Researchers 2014 website (Thomson Reuters, http://www.highlycited.com). In 2014, their median number of publications was 32, with eight individuals having more than 50 publications (more than one per week) and one author having more than 100 publications (more than two per week). I question whether it is possible to meaningfully participate as an author on one or more publications per week.

How many publications are feasible?

The Australian Code for the Responsible…

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