Editorials

Maintaining the integrity of the scientific record

BMJ 2001; 323 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.323.7313.588 (Published 15 September 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:588

Editors make a move

  1. Richard Smith, editor
  1. BMJ

    We editors of medical journals worry that we sometimes publish studies where the declared authors have not participated in the design of the study, had no access to the raw data, and had little to do with the interpretation of the data. Instead the sponsors of the study—often pharmaceutical companies—have designed the study and analysed and interpreted the data. Readers and editors are thus being deceived. Editors are also concerned that the declared authors might not have ultimate control over whether their studies are published. That decision may rest with the funders of the research—perhaps a government department or a pharmaceutical company—which could mean that results unfavourable to the funders are suppressed. This distorts the scientific record and again deceives readers, allowing them to read only favourable results. Editors have taken steps to counter the problem by revising the uniform requirements for manuscripts submitted to biomedical journals of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, …

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