I have read a few sources claiming that Obama's JAMA paper published this month was the first academic journal article authored by a sitting president. Is that true?


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    I'vem edited the question to reflect the claim in the tweet. Otherwise we would have to close as "not a notable claim". – DJClayworth Jul 22 '16 at 13:40

It's hard to prove a first, because you have to prove that it has never happened before. However the preponderance of evidence seems to be in favour of it. The evidence comes in two kinds.

  1. The repetition of the story by reputable news outlets who normally do a decent job fact checking. For example Fortune magazine, Science, The Independent
  2. The almost complete absence of right wing media pointing out that this is not true. You know if there was a way to be attacking the President on this they would be doing it.
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    My impression of most of the criticism that I'm reading about it is not that he was first to be published, but whether it should have been published at all. Most critics seem concerned with the apparent conflation of politics and science. LA Times is a good example. – fredsbend Jul 25 '16 at 19:04
  • This video from Fortune says it wasn't even peer reviewed. My point here is that right wing media will more likely come to criticize that he was the first to do this (i.e. they would say "only Obama would have to gall to pretend to be a scientist" (I guess they would quickly forget about Al Gore)), if they aren't already saying this. – fredsbend Jul 25 '16 at 19:10
  • Our own Academia.SE has discussed these issues, it seems. – fredsbend Jul 25 '16 at 19:26
  • Whether it should have been published is off-topic. Predicting what right wing media might do is off-topic. – user30557 Jul 26 '16 at 5:44
  • What about the question of whether Obama truly authored it? Is that a separate question? I have no evidence one way or the other, but I strongly suspect it was mostly ghost-written. – kbelder Jul 26 '16 at 17:07

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