Ghostwriters are the Navy Seals of academia. They go in there with their special skills and materials, write an article on behalf of their employer (a pharmaceutical company), target a professor willing to put her name on the piece so that it looks like research rather than advertising, and publish it in a high-profile journal.

Like the Seals, they are too modest – and their vocation too top-secret – to take credit. They are the unsung heroes of big pharma.

Take the wonderfully named middle man Mittleman. Maclean’s can phone her all it likes, but she ain’t talkin. Her employers wouldn’t like it. Plus she’s preparing for future missions.

A former ghost spoke to a recent gathering of academics interested in the subject. She confirmed that she would

approach academics on behalf of drug companies and withhold information about her relationship with the industry. “I was asked to identify myself as a writer for the medical education company,” she says, adding that her range of involvement with a researcher could be anything from editing a manuscript, to writing the entire thing under a researcher’s byline.

Remarkably incurious, isn’t it, for Thought Leaders not to wonder why a person would beg to write their articles for them and get them placed for them and all… I guess if you think of yourself as a really important person you figure even thinking and writing are kind of beneath you… ?

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One Response to ““Maclean’s tried to contact Mittleman, but she did not respond.””

  1. david foster Says:

    Well, if ghost writers are the Navy SEALs of academia, who are the war dogs?

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