Journal editors propose stricter conflict-of-interest disclosures

A group of medical journal editors has proposed that the industry use a tough new conflict-of-interest disclosure form which asks authors for far more detail than is currently submitted by authors. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, which includes 12 of the leading medical journals from around the globe, would like to see their uniform disclosure form become the industry standard.

The new form addresses concerns raised in the wake of questions over the financial relationships authors have with industry. It asks authors who submit journal articles for publication to provide detail on payments for research that fuels the article, along with other industry relationships such as stock options or consulting agreements dating from the past three years.

What's more, the new form would ask authors to share whether their spouses or children have relationships with companies that have a financial or other interest in the author's content. And the form even asks the authors to share non-financial information "that a reasonable reader would want to know about," such as religious, personal or political convictions that might influence their contributions.

Guidelines could make things much simpler for everyone concerned, the group says. Right now, with more than 1,500 biomedical journals in print, authors have a hard time determining how to meet guidelines. That forces editors to check with every author to be sure they've addressed any potential conflict issues, leaders note.

To review these requirements:
- view the form (.pdf)
- read this American Medical News piece

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