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Acad Med. 2009 Sep;84(9):1226-8. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181b18835.

Perspective: Disclosing hidden sources of funding.

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National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA.


In this article, the author discusses ethical and policy issues related to the disclosure of hidden sources of funding in research. The author argues that authors have an ethical obligation to disclose hidden sources of funding and that journals should adopt policies to enforce this obligation. Journal policies should require disclosure of hidden sources of funding that authors know about and that have a direct relation to their research. To stimulate this discussion, the author describes a recent case: investigators who conducted a lung cancer screening study had received funding from a private foundation that was supported by a tobacco company, but they did not disclose this relationship to the journal. Investigators and journal editors must be prepared to deal with these issues in a manner that promotes honesty, transparency, fairness, and accountability in research. The development of well-defined, reasonable policies pertaining to hidden sources of funding can be a step in this direction.

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