As a follow-up to "Phone book et al: one paper, 45 references, 144 authors" (News, 8 April), I wanted to alert readers to an even more gross example than the gross it cites.
In 1998, I responded to a challenge posed by New Scientist magazine to find the most-authored paper so far, and came across "The HOPE (Heart Outcomes Prevention Evaluation) Study: the design of a large, simple randomised trial of an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor (ramipril) and vitamin E in patients at high risk of cardiovascular events", featured in the February 1996 issue of The Canadian Journal of Cardiology. In total, it had 718 authors! How is it possible for there to be so many (real) contributors?
Rob Eason, University of Southampton.