Over at Retraction Watch an interesting question came up: Is it ethical to ghost write a paper? Click through for all the details and to vote in their poll.
I voted "no" for the specific situation described; there are too many issues raised about the data and hypothesis. The sitution obviously feels squeamy to the post-doc involved, as well as to me.
However, there are situations where a ghost writer could be perfectly acceptable.
- A native English speaker to rewrite and correct dysfluencies
- A large multi-author manuscript tweaked by a single writer to provide better verbal flow; to make it seem like the piece had a single author
In other words, there are times where bringing in a pro to edit and rework the author's words and ideas into better prose is acceptable.
Go over to the post and vote. Comment below if you agree or disagree with my thoughts about ghosts.