This month’s review of ethical conundrums starts with a forum case regarding submission of research manuscripts without ethical approval. The forum noted that editors cannot be expected to know national guidelines which may vary between countries. It recommended that editors have assurance that studies are undertaken in accordance with national guidelines and can request letters from ethics committees, and have a responsibility to follow-up with institutions if necessary. There are two items on predatory journals: one where a journal steals the identity of a dead doctor and the other where journals are registering for ORCID numbers. Editors check for plagiarism but a new challenge is article spinning software, and there are many sites which offer these services. The cost of investigating misconduct is massive, as the Riken Institute discovered. The protracted process required to have a paper retracted for suspected research fraud is detailed in the BMJ regarding an article published in 1989 on the influence of maternal diet during lactation and use of formula feeds on development of atopic eczema in high risk infants.The focus article is on the recently published Good Publication Practice for Communicating Company-Sponsored Medical Research: GPP3, which have been endorsed by COPE.
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