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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 168-173

An audit of reporting of conflict of interest policies among three stakeholders in Indian biomedical journals

Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Nithya J Gogtay
Gogtay, Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital, Parel, Mumbai - 400 012, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/picr.PICR_85_19

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Background: A conflict of interest (COI) in publication exists when the primary interest of publication is influenced by a secondary interest (financial or non-financial). International guidelines are available that can be used by journal editors to formulate their own COI policies. The present study was carried out with the objective of evaluating COI policies existing among Indian biomedical journals. Materials and Methods: MEDLINE/PubMed and MedIND/IndMed databases were searched. Inclusions were journals that were active and indexed. Outcome measures were proportion of journals: (a) mentioning COI disclosure statement for authors, reviewers, and editors, (b) adequately explaining COI, (c) referring to three international guidelines, and (d) the proportion of PubMed/other than PubMed indexed journals mentioning COI policy for authors, reviewers, and editors and providing an adequate explanation for COI. Apart from descriptive statistics, associations between indexing and COI Policy for all three stakeholders were evaluated. Results: A total of n = 106 journals formed the final sample. Among them, 82 (77%) were PubMed and 24 (23%) were MedIND/IndMed indexed. COI disclosure statement was mentioned in 93 (87.7%) journals for authors, 10 (9.4%) for reviewers, and 06 (5.6%) for editors. Only 35 (33%) journals adequately explained COI. A total of 61 (57.5%) journals endorsed all the three international guidelines. PubMed indexing was found to be associated with approximately 19 times the odds of COI policies being present on the journal's home page relative to the journals indexed with other indexing agencies (crude odds ratio - 18.8, 95% confidence interval [4.6, 77],P < 0.0001). Conclusion: Very few Indian biomedical journals have COI policies for reviewers and editors and most did not explain it adequately. Nearly, a fifth of the journals we evaluated did not follow any guideline for disclosing COI.

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