David W. Noble, BMedBiol, MBChB
Potential Financial Conflicts of Interest: None disclosed.
Noble D.; Preventing Scientific Fraud. Ann Intern Med. 2006;145:472. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-145-6-200609190-00017
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2006;145(6):472.
TO THE EDITOR:
Recent discussions of research misconduct (1-2) highlight a continuing problem. Being a medical scientist does not make a person immune to human frailties. Indeed, far worse crimes have been committed by doctors (3). Medical publishers also have their frailties, perhaps striving too hard to publish medical investigations with the greatest impact or controversy. This may inadvertently encourage fraud. While accepting that institutions play their role to ensure the integrity of research conducted under their umbrella, journals and journal editors too must accept responsibility to ensure truthful reporting of results. Paying subscribers and nonpaying readers deserve quality assurance measures in this regard. This requires time, effort, and resources for journals and their peer-review processes. Given the importance to patients and health care providers of employing best practice, greater acknowledgment of those already contributing to peer review and quality assurance is warranted. However, even greater scrutiny of research data is required. This could and should be provided by journals. For a minimum modest fee, of say $10 per author of papers accepted for publication, further checks could be made to a proportion of articles. Sponsored studies might attract a higher fee for journal publication. This could be invested to promote quality assurance. For example, 1 paper in 20 might receive additional scrutiny and 1 in 200 might receive extensive scrutiny of all relevant data.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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