Ethical Issues in Biomedical Publication

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When the editors of two of the most prominent medical journals in the world-the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)-were fired in the same year, under circumstances that ranged from acrimonious to politically sensational, media attention again focused on biomedical publication. The controversy highlighted yet another ethical dimension of scientific research and its publication, topics that have generated intense scrutiny in recent years. As research funding has become scarcer and competition fiercer, with links between scientific discovery and commercial applications increasingly tighter and more lucrative, allegations of misconduct have also increased. Universities and research institutions, notably the NIH, have created offices of scientific integrity and mandated educational programs to investigate such allegations and to train researchers in the highest standards of sound, ethical scientific research. Focusing on publication ethics as an essential aspect of responsible scientific conduct, Ethical Issues in Biomedical Publication examines a variety of troublesome issues, including authorship, peer review, repetitive publication, conflict of interest, and electronic publishing. The contributors include the editors of distinguished biomedical journals (among them, past or present editors of Academic Medicine, Annals of Internal Medicine, British Medical Journal, JAMA, and the Lancet), humanities scholars, scientists, lawyers, and a university administrator. Chapters address specific ethical issues and offer recommendations for preventing or solving problems associated with them. The result is a book that will serve as a standard reference for biomedical researchers, authors, editors, and teachers of research ethics. Educators, administrators, scientists, editors, and students should all welcome this comprehensive new book. Anne Hudson Jones and Faith McLellan have gathered a veritable who's who in the field of publication ethics for biomedical research. All those with a stake in biomedical research will surely want this volume on their bookshelf. -from the Foreword by Jordan J. Cohen, M.D., President, Association of American Medical Colleges