Journalistic papers published in high impact journals can be very influential, especially in hot fields. This meta-research analysis aimed to evaluate the publication profiles, impact, and disclosures of conflicts of interest of non-research authors who had published >200 Scopus-indexed papers in Nature, Science, PNAS, Cell, BMJ, Lancet, JAMA or New England Journal of Medicine. 154 prolific authors were identified, 148 of whom had published 67,825 papers in their main affiliated journal in a non-researcher capacity. Of 25 massively prolific authors with over 700 publications in one of these journals, only 3 had a PhD degree in any subject matter. Only 2 of the 25 disclosed potential conflicts with some specificity. The practice of assigning so much power to non-researchers in shaping scientific discourse should be further debated and disclosures of potential conflicts of interest should be emphasized.
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