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Fertil Steril. 2002 May;77(5):883-8.

Ethical issues in biomedical publications.

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Mayo Clinic and Mayo Medical School, Rochester, Minnesota, USA.


Peer-reviewed biomedical journals are expected to publish accurate and important information. In the process, numerous ethical issues may arise from within both the editorial and research communities. This paper will focus on four general ethical issues-authorship, peer review, duplicate or repetitive publication, and conflict of interest. Issues of authorship include multiple authorship, misconduct among coauthors, guest and honorary authorship, order of authorship, and credit for those not qualifying for authorship. Peer review attempts to ensure that what is published is valid. Peer review ethical issues include confidentiality of the manuscript, potential editor and reviewer bias, and conflict of interest on the part of the reviewer. Duplicate or repetitive publication, in which the same information is reported two or more times, can damage a journal's reputation for publishing new and important information and can waste its resources. Conflicts of interest, in which financial and personal considerations may affect the investigator's personal judgment, can seriously damage the integrity of the author and of the journal. Increased awareness of these ethical issues should stimulate everyone to take an active role in promulgating and enforcing the highest ethical standards in biomedical publications.

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