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October 1986

Believing What You Read: Responsibilities of Medical Authors and Editors

Author Affiliations

From the Center for Clinical Medical Ethics, Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago.

Arch Intern Med. 1986;146(10):2043-2044. doi:10.1001/archinte.1986.00360220213034

In the past five years, there has been an increase in the number of retractions by authors and coauthors of scholarly medical papers for reasons of either fraud or scientific inaccuracy. Three papers were recently retracted from the prestigious Journal of Clinical Investigation.1 Before that, the scientific community was shaken by the discovery of multiple fraudulent publications, which involved such leading institutions as Harvard University, Yale University, and Emory University.2-4 As illustrated by these scandals, there is a need for reassessment of the ethical responsibilities of those involved in medical publication, beginning with authors and coauthors but also including editors and reviewers.

RESPONSIBILITIES OF AUTHORS  The principal responsibilities of authors include scrupulous behavior in designing and conducting research studies, intellectual honesty, and responsible coauthorship. Authors should assume public responsibility for all phases of the research and for the published work.

Ethical Standards in Design and Conduct of Research 

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