Conflict of Interest and Scientific Publications Lawrence Charles Parish, M.D.,* Joseph A. Witkowski, M.D.,t and Larry E. Millikan, M.D.f

Once upon a time, writing a paper for a medical journal was a seemingly easy task. The physician of the eighteenth century made an observation in his practice and reported it to a local medical society. The trahsactions of the society were then published when enough case reports had been accumulated to warrant the expense. Because medical periodicals were new, few references were needed, and the writer's observations were taken at face value.' As we now approach the twenty-first century, the situation is drastically different. There is still the urge to share an experience with a colleague, further facilitated by photography and computer-generated word processing. References can be rapidly obtained at the writer's desk through on-line services to the National Library of Medicine such as Grateful Med or BSR Colleague. These citations, when presented to most journals, must now conform to the Vancouver style.^| Objectivity in clinical research is essential to its value in the medical literature. Unfortunately, ambition and secret agendas sometimes override the original mission, or at least the acceptable goals. Publish or perish can begin to obscure reality. In a recent editorial, the Council of Dermatology Editors addressed the issue of dual publication, a situation to be condemned.-' We now wish to call attention to conflict of interest. Secret Agendas For the past few years, there has been increasing concern about financial interests in projects. There is nothing wrong with receiving remuneration for a day's labor. Participation in pharmaceutical trials and evaluation of devices often are scientifically useful, but the readers of the International Journal of Dermatology have every right to know where the authors of published papers stand."*

* Editor in-Chief. t Associate Editor. Address correspondence to; Lawrence Charles Parish, M.D., 1819 John F. Kennedy Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA 19103. ;i; An example of a journal citation in Vancouver style is; Lebwohl, M., Contard, P.; Interferon and condylomate acuminata. Int J Dermatol I99O;29;699-7O5. 250

Because of our concerns over conflicts of interest, the Editor-in-Chief, in consultation with the Associate Editors, appointed an Ad Hoc Committee on Medical Ethics. Alton I. Sutnick, M.D., Vice President of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates, Philadelphia, and Ernst H. Beutner, Ph.D., Professor of Microbiology, SUNY-Buffalo, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, both of the Editorial Board, agreed to serve as Chairman and Vice Chairman, respectively, of the Committee.^§ Conditions for Acceptance of Manuscripts As a result of their recommendations, the following conditions for publishing in the International Journal of Dermatology will be implemented immediately: Henceforth, all manuscripts considered by the International Journal of Dermatology must have a covering letter containing the following information: 1. a. In consideration of the International Journal of Dermatology taking action in reviewing and editing my (our) submission, the author(s) undersigned hereby transfer(s), assign(s), or otherwise convey(s) all copyright ownership to the International Society of Dermatology: Tropical, Geographic and Ecologic, Inc. in the event that such work is published in the Journal. b. If a manuscript has been authored by (an) employee(s) of the government of the United States of America as part of official duties the following paragraph may be substituted: The submitted manuscript is a work of authorship prepared as part of my (our) official duties as an officer or employee of the government of the United States of America and is therefore in the public domain. 2. I (we) certify that I (we) have sufficiently participated in the study or studies reported to warrant inclusion of my (our) name(s) and that I (we) can produce the source documents to substantiate the vahdity of the presentation. This submission has not been pubhshed before, unless so indicated. § Other members of the Committee include; John T. Crissey, M.D., Pasadena, CA; Michael J. Fellner, M.D., New York, NY; Jere D. Guin, M.D., Little Rock, AK. April 1991, Vol. 30, No. 4

No. 4

Conflict of Interest • Parish, Witi

Conflict of interest and scientific publications.

Commentary Conflict of Interest and Scientific Publications Lawrence Charles Parish, M.D.,* Joseph A. Witkowski, M.D.,t and Larry E. Millikan, M.D.f...
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