News & Opinion

Opinion / Duplicate publication guidelines from BMC

BioMed Central has developed useful guidelines for authors about exactly what is meant by duplicate (or redundant) publication. They cover not only  overlaps with  other journal articles but  issues such as preprint servers (and they mention the COPE  flowchart!).  You can find them at

http://www.biomedcentral.com/info/about/duplicatepublication

Opinion / NEJM paper on selective reporting of trials of off-label use of gabapentin

This paper, published on Nov 12th, looked at 12 trials where both published reports and internal company documents on off label use of gabapentin (Neurontin) could be examined. The authors found that for "8 of the 12 reported trials, the primary outcome defined in the published report differed from that described in the protocol.", and go on to describe the types of differences found, including that "Of the 21 primary outcomes described in the protocols of the published trials, 6 were not reported at all and 4 were reported as secondary outcomes.

Opinion / Shake-up for UK research ethics approval?

The UK's National Research Ethics Service (NRES), which coordinates ethical review of research, is likely to be reorganized. Depending on the outcome, this could have implications for editors who publish research done in the UK and need to understand that it has undergone proper ethical scrutiny. Details will probably appear on http://www.nres.npsa.nhs.uk/ (but there is no information there yet).

Opinion / Ethics of genetic research on stored tissue samples from minors

A paper in  the October issue of the  American Journal of Medical Genetics Part A systematically reviews the literature on the ethical issues surrounding use of stored tissue samples from minors. You need a subscription to access the full paper but the abstract is available on PubMed

Opinion / New ICMJE editorial and form for reporting competing interests in journals

The ICMJE (International Committee of Medical Journal Editors) has announced a new format for Disclosure of Competing Interests. The policy, outlined on the ICMJE website, (which has been updated recently by the way and is worth a look at) also includes a form that has been adopted by the ICMJE member journals, and which the ICMJE is encouraging other journals to consider adopting.

Opinion / Study reports lack of specificity in CoI guidelines

Sheldon Krimsky & Erin Sweet from Tufts University, Massachusetts, USA have studied the conflict of interest (CoI) policies of over 200 medical and toxicology journals. They found that about 85% of the journals had a written CoI policy but in many cases these lacked specificity or were of limited scope (eg covering only certain types of financial interest).
See Accountability in Research 2009;16:235-53
The article is not Open Access but the abstract is available on Medline.

Opinion / Nature news coverage of image manipulation in journals

The story, by Natasha Gilbert, includes statistics on screening for image manipulation at two PLoS journals, and also data from the US Office of Research Integrity.

Opinion / Publications about plagiarism

A Spanish research group has compiled an interesting list of publications about plagiarism. You can find it at http://users.dsic.upv.es/~lbarron/plagiarism.html

Opinion / COPE retraction project reported in Nature Medicine

Findings of a study on retractions funded by COPE were presented by Liz Wager at the recent Peer Review Congress in Vancouver as a poster and picked up by Nature Medicine. You can read the report in Nature Medicine October 2009;15:1101

www.nature.com/nm/index.html

Opinion / Ghost and Honorary authors at the Peer Review Congress

One of the most discussed papers at last week’s Peer Review Congress in Vancouver (the whole programme is well worth a look) was one presented by JAMA editors entitled Prevalence of Honorary and Ghost Authorship in 6 General Medical Journals, 2009 .

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