Peer Review: Research Ethics in the News

Earlier this month, The Sixth International Congress on Peer Review and Biomedical Publication (PRC) met in Vancouver. Sessions and posters addressed a number of research ethics issues, including: ghost writing, ethical and editorial standards, conflicts of interest, bias and “spin”, clinical trials registration, and quality reporting. Of these, the topic of ghost writing in medicine, continues to make headlines. The New York Times reports the results of a study published in JAMA (this research was also presented at PRC; see MedPage Today). The Guardian reports that a British doctor faces disciplinary action for his role in “writing”. The Chronicle of Higher Education pursues a different angle and covers the cost (to journals) of fighting industry support. The Philadelphia Inquirer covers a Paxil suit and the GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) project CASPPER–that’s “Case Study Publications for Peer Review” (the allusion to Casper the ghost is defended as a “whimsical” choice). The president of Chadds Ford, the involved writing company, also notes: “At that time, around 2000, there were no negative ethical implications associated with the term ghostwriter.” For additional reading, the topic of ghost writing was also covered in an earlier post at this blog; also see the ongoing attention to the issue by Stuart Laidlaw of the Toronto Star on his Medical Ethics blog: Ghostwriting.

Other PRC related topics were also widely reported this month, including: registering clinical trials in The New York Times, Nature News [subscription required], and Science Progress; conflicts of interest in AMNews; ScienceNews reports that reviewers do not get better with practice; and Chris Lee at Ars Technica reflects on the results of a new survey from the Publishing Research Consortium.

Other Research Ethics News

Jocelyn Kaiser. To help young scientists, NIH bends quality rules. ScienceInsider. September 22, 2009.

Nancy Walton. Moving Ethics Review Out of the institution: Are We Throwing Caution to the Wind? The Research Ethics Blog. September 22, 2009.

NIH Opens Website for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Lines for Approval and Announces Members of Working Group. NIH News. September 21, 2009.

Michael B. Blank, Patrick S. Sullivan and Paul A. Lombardo. When Less Paperwork Means No Science: The Paperwork Reduction Act and Unintended Consequences for Public Health Research. Science Progress. September 21, 2009.

New Program in International Research Ethics Commences at IUPUI. Indiana University School of Medicine. September 17, 2009.

Sean Teehan. Monkeys suffered in lab, suit says. The Boston Globe. September 17, 2009.

Bob Grant. More regulatory science: FDA chief. The Scientist. September 17, 2009.

Gardiner Harris. Where cancer progress is rare, one man says no. The New York Times. September 15, 2009.

Laura Donnelly. Human tissue can be taken for human-animal embryo experiments without consent. Telegraph.co.uk. September 12, 2009.

Kevin B. O’Reilly. Outsourcing clinical trials: Is it ethical to take drug studies abroad? AMNews. September 7, 2009.

– J.O.

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