2023 Author: Bryan Walter | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 22:24
American researchers asked reviewers of scientific journals on medicine to evaluate more than 800 medical articles and found that disclosing a conflict of interest in a work does not affect the assessment that is given to the work - even if there is a conflict of interest. This means that the possible impact of a conflict of interest on the publication of a study is not resolved by its clear designation in the article, scientists write in the bmj journal.
In their scientific articles, authors are obliged to indicate possible conflicts of interest that could affect them at any stage of research preparation: this concerns data collection, as well as their analysis and interpretation of results. Very often, this conflict can be funding from third parties or the participation of their employees: for example, in a recent study on a nutritional monitoring application, one of the authors of which was an employee of Weight Watchers, which specializes in selling diet plans for weight loss.
In fact, the disclosure of a conflict of interest should be considered at the stage of reviewing an article, but in a new work, scientists led by Leslie John at Harvard Medical School found that this does not always work. To do this, they collected 1,480 manuscripts published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine and gave them to 838 medical reviewers, with or without reporting whether the researchers had a conflict of interest (or lack thereof) in the original work. After completing the standard peer review process, participants were asked if they understood the existence of a conflict of interest in the work and if they considered it an issue in this study.
Despite the fact that 78 percent of participants reported that they had considered the existence of a conflict of interest and understood its significance, it turned out that disclosure of a conflict of interest has little effect on the quality rating given by the reviewers. For manuscripts without specifying a conflict of interest, the average score (on a scale from 1 to 5) was 2, 7, and for those articles where it was indicated, it was 2, 74. Interestingly, the actual presence of a conflict of interest in cases where There was such a graph in the work: the difference in the assessment of these works and works without a conflict of interest was 0, 11.
The authors of the work come to the conclusion that the presence of a column on a possible conflict of interest in the manuscript for preparation for publication in a scientific journal does not in any way affect the review process itself and the assessment that the reviewers give. In fact, this means that the impact of a conflict of interest on the results of the work and its further publication is not decided by their designation in the work itself.
Of course, sometimes it happens that the conflict of interest is latent, and there is not a word about it in the article. This happened recently with the work on the "smartphone bone": its authors argued that the outgrowth on the skull provokes an uncomfortable position of the head while using the smartphone. It turned out that one of the co-authors of this work is a chiropractor and is engaged in posture correction.