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M. E. Collins, C. Radhakrishnan, M. A. Saidel; To Disclose or Not to Disclose: An Examination of Authors' Practices Disclosing Financial Support and Conflicts of Interest. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2008;49(13):4975. doi: https://doi.org/.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To determine financial disclosure practices for authors who published studies in one of the major ophthalmology journals during 2007.
Our study group reviewed all published clinical trials that appeared in one of the major ophthalmology journals during the past 12 months. For each study, we collected information on whether the author made a disclosure (either affirmative or negative) regarding financial support for the study. If the author specified a funding source for the study, we also analyzed how often the author specified whether or not the funding source played any role in the design, conduct or analysis of study data. We also collected information on whether authors made a statement (either affirmative or negative) regarding conflict of interest. If a conflict of interest was disclosed, we collected information on the nature of the disclosed conflict.
We reviewed 318 articles that were published in a major ophthalmology journal during the past 12 months. 311 clinical research studies were included; 7 basic science research studies were excluded from our analysis. Authors disclosed whether or not they received financial support in 198/311 studies (63.7%), however, only 10/198 (5%) clarified whether or not the funding source played a role in the design, conduct or data anaylsis. 113 authors did not make any statement regarding whether or not they received financial support for their study. Authors disclosed whether or not they had a conflict of interest in 203/311 studies (65.3%). The remaining 108 authors did not make any statement regarding whether or not a conflict of interest existed. Of note, affirmative statements regarding conflict of interest were disclosed in 43/203 studies (21.2%). The most frequently disclosed conflicts included serving as a consultant, receiving research funding and holding a patent.
Despite more stringent guidelines regarding disclosure, there still remains significant variation in the reporting of financial support and conflict of interest for published clinical trials. Although only 21.2% of published articles reported a conflict of interest, the ophthalmology community should increase its effort to ensure complete and consistent disclosure of financial relationships.
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