Generative artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming increasingly prevalent in various industries, including medical publishing. The impact of this technology on publishing practices remains unclear, but it could potentially raise substantial ethical concerns. In particular, questions arise concerning copyright, attribution, plagiarism, and authorship when AI produces academic text.

One example of this technology is ChatGPT, an AI chatbot developed by OpenAI that generates responses based on thousands of internet sources. This powerful tool has already attracted millions of interactions, and individuals have reportedly used the platform to formulate university essays and scholarly articles.
The system can even deliver accompanying references if prompted! But you should note that the tools can be deceiving and create bogus references that sound plausible.

“This is where it becomes kind of dangerous,” Teresa Kubacka, data scientist, said. “The moment that you cannot trust the references, it also kind of erodes the trust in citing science whatsoever,” she said.

In a recent comment published on The Lancet Digital Health, authors asked ChatGPT how the editorial team should address academic content produced by AI and we explore the outcome below.

A clear urgency and importance for comprehensive discussions surrounding authorship policies presents itself as the use of AI in publishing becomes increasingly adopted.

While major publishers such as Elsevier have stated that AI cannot be listed as an author and must be properly acknowledged, there is still a need for clear guidelines on the ethical implications of AI-generated content.

As this form of content becomes more common, it is of the utmost importance that we carefully consider the ethical implications of publishing articles produced by AI and create clear guidelines on authorship policies. By doing so, we can ensure that the dissemination of knowledge is conducted in an ethical and responsible manner.

While the impact of generative AI on medical publishing practices remains unclear, the growing use of this technology highlights the urgent need for robust AI author guidelines in medical/education publishing.