(1) Institute of Medicine. 1989. The Responsible Conduct of Research in the Health Sciences, National Academy Press, Washington, DC.
(2) M Iverson M et al, Scientific societies and research integrity: What are they doing and how well are they doing it? Science and Engineering Ethics, 2003.
(3) MS Anderson and JB Shultz, The role of scientific associations in promoting research integrity and deterring research misconduct. Science and Engineering Ethics, 2003.
(4) FJ Levine and JM Iutcovich, Challenges in studying the effects of scientific societies on research integrity. Science and Engineering Ethics, 2003.
Developing a Code of Ethics in Research: A Guide for Scientific Societies. AAMC Committee on Research Integrity, Washington, DC, 1997.
Education of Investigators
Scientific societies play an important role in developing consensus on research ethics and standards for their members. Given this role, the Institute of Medicine recommended that "scientific organizations representing the research community should develop educational and training activities and materials to improve the integrity of research" (1). A series of articles discusses the role of scientific societies in promoting the responsible conduct of research (2,3,4). The issue of financial conflicts of interest and academic-industry relationships usually falls under the broad scope of research ethics. This is addressed by some societies through ethics committees, publications committees if the society is a publisher, or through the organization of scientific meetings.
Tool. Points to Consider for Scientific and Professional Association Conflict of Interest Policies (PDF): Guidance and resources for associations developing or modifying policies and practices for COI of the association and members
The following societies and professional organizations have statements on financial relationships between academia and industry. These can be used by other societies as examples:
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology - Discusses financial relationships of research investigators
The Endocrine Society (PDF) - Discusses conflicts of interest related to the society, society members, and individuals participating in society activities
American Society for Clinical Oncology - Discusses conflicts of interest related to society members, individuals participating in society activities, and staff
American Society of Human Genetics - Society news article discussing ASHG policy, investigator responsibilities, and a new disclosure requirement for the ASHG meeting
American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (PDF) - Code of conduct for supporting corporations or corporate representatives
American Society for Gene Therapy - Policy for society members related to financial interests and gene therapy trials
A coordinated effort to address financial conflicts of interest issues by the the scientific society community would be beneficial. It is evident that various disciplines have struggled with financial conflict of interest issues. A sample of discipline-oriented literature on this issue follows.
A review of conflicts of interest, competing interests, and bias for toxicologists, LD Claxton, Toxicology and Industrial Health, 2007.
Beyond disclosure: Managing conflicts of interest to strengthen trust in our profession, MF McKneally, J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg, 2007.
Does industry sponsorship undermine the integrity of nutrition research? MB Martijn, PLoS Medicine, 2007.
Williams et al, Conflicts of interest in dermatology, Acta Derm Venereol, 86: 485-497, 2006.
Workshop Proceedings: Managing Conflict of Interest in Science. A Little Consensus and A Lot of Controversy, Maurissen JP et al, Toxicological Sciences, 2005.
Look Beyond Financial Conflicts of Interest in Evaluating Industry Academia Collaborations in Burden-of-Illness and Outcomes Research Studies in Dermatology, MM Prendergast et al, J Invest Derm, 2004.
Responsibility of investigators, RM Sade and M McKneally, J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg, 2002.