Letters Judging benefits and harms of medicines

Bringing the research community together to improve communication

BMJ 2017; 358 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j4201 (Published 19 September 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;358:j4201
  1. John Tooke, former president
  1. Academy of Medical Sciences, London W1B 1QH, UK
  1. info{at}acmedsci.ac.uk

I was pleased to see The BMJ discuss12 our latest Academy of Medical Sciences’ report.3 We welcome the synergies between our work and the evidence based medicine manifesto proposed by The BMJ.4

Our report calls for changes to the Research Excellence Framework to recognise efforts supporting reproducibility, “intelligent openness,” and better research communication. Making these changes could galvanise the culture shift needed in universities and research institutions.

All organisations involved in research and its communication must look closely at the processes governing our work. For the Academy of Medical Sciences this will include reviewing the way we declare interests. Although interests must be noted, they do not inherently present a conflict—this is context dependent, and conflicts of interest are not limited to industry links.

We are brought together by the common motivation to ensure the robustness and trustworthiness of scientific research so that society reaps the maximum benefit. We think this is more likely to happen if the whole research community aligns its efforts and works collectively.

We were pleased that Fiona Godlee and representatives from across the research community attended the academy’s recent meeting on taking our recommendations forward, where we reinforced the need for a collective, aligned, and coordinated response.

We look forward to working with the community towards a new era of accountability in the way we generate and communicate trustworthy scientific evidence on the potential benefits and harms of medicines.



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