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Ann Epidemiol. 1997 Oct;7(7):431-3.

The politics of identity in epidemiology.

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  • 1Monsanto Company, Department of Medicine and Health Management, St. Louis, MO 63167, USA.


The predilection to doubt the objectivity of scientists based on their affiliation--particularly, but not exclusively, focused on scientists affiliated with industry-is a malignant influence in modern epidemiology. Manifestations of this "politics of identity" are widespread and include ad hominem attacks, publication restrictions, and exclusions of scientists from expert panels and advisory boards. These actions are likely to be detrimental to progress in epidemiology and are questionable from an ethical standpoint. The purpose of this commentary is to draw critical attention to the politics of identity in epidemiology and the effects it can have on individual scientists and scientific debate.

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