JAMA’s new rule on whistleblowers creates controversy

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 31 March 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b1352
  1. Janice Hopkins Tanne
  1. 1New York

    The announcement by the editors of the Journal of the American Medical Association that, in future, anyone writing to the journal about a possible conflict of interest on the part of authors must keep silent while their allegations are investigated has aroused a storm of criticism.

    The new policy ( was announced after Jonathan Leo, professor of neuroanatomy at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee, and Jeffrey Lacasse, of Arizona State University, published a letter online in the BMJ in which they criticised a study published in JAMA and pointing out that the lead author had not reported a conflict of interest (,9Feb2009).

    The American Medical Association, JAMA’s owner and publisher, has said in a press release that it is referring the controversy to JAMA’s journal oversight committee. It said, “While we are ultimately responsible for these publications, as most …

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