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posted by martyb on Thursday April 20, @10:36PM   Printer-friendly
from the Will-Publish-for-Food dept.

PubMed — a powerful taxpayer-funded search engine for medical study abstracts that doctors, patients, and the media rely on — just started displaying conflict of interest data up front. New information about funding sources and potential conflicts will now appear right below study abstracts, which means readers don't have even to open a journal article to be made aware of any possible industry influence over studies.

[...] The change comes a year after 62 scientists and physicians from around the world (including the head of the Center for Science in the Public Interest) lobbied for the update, part of a broader transparency movement in science.

http://www.vox.com/2017/4/19/15350048/pubmed-publishing-conflicts-of-interest-funding-information


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 20, @10:57PM (16 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 20, @10:57PM (#497103)

    The people doing this research need to find "results" to continue on their career, and "sexy results" to be successful. They should include that one too.

    • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 20, @11:11PM (12 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 20, @11:11PM (#497107)

      Can you believe that scientists also get paid to do research?
      How about that the scientists often pay the journals that publish the studies?
      Another huge conflict of interest is that the people reviewing scientific studies are actually "scientists" themselves. We need more non-scientists that can do, self-fund, and publish (anonymously because you don't want fame to become a COI) their own research so that we can finally have reliable, COI-free science.

      • (Score: 2) by butthurt on Friday April 21, @12:56AM

        by butthurt (6141) on Friday April 21, @12:56AM (#497151) Journal

        Self-funded, self-published research is flourishing. According to a November 2010 story:

        In March, YouTube announced that 24 hours of video was uploaded to [the] video service every minute. Now it's 35 hours per minute [...]

        -- http://www.cbsnews.com/news/youtube-more-than-50000-hours-of-video-per-day-uploaded/ [cbsnews.com]

        A December 2016 story said:

        On Google’s YouTube video platform, people upload 400 hours of video every minute, the company said.

        -- http://www.voanews.com/a/mht-google-says-will-use-100-percent-renewable-energy/3625221.html [voanews.com]

      • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Friday April 21, @02:24AM (10 children)

        by kaszz (4211) on Friday April 21, @02:24AM (#497185) Journal

        Actually, publish anonymously might have other benefits. Like taking a shoot into areas where you need to break new ground and may crash and burn. With anonymity, it doesn't have to take your career with it.

        • (Score: 2) by Wootery on Friday April 21, @04:03PM (9 children)

          by Wootery (2341) on Friday April 21, @04:03PM (#497462)

          But you're guaranteed not to personally benefit from such research, no?

          • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Friday April 21, @04:24PM (8 children)

            by kaszz (4211) on Friday April 21, @04:24PM (#497473) Journal

            You could always de-anonymize or suggest research on then established results. "Oh look that crazy scientist seems to have found something, we better do some research on that".

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 22, @12:10PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 22, @12:10PM (#497879)

              Shadow Brokers science

            • (Score: 2) by Wootery on Saturday April 22, @03:25PM (6 children)

              by Wootery (2341) on Saturday April 22, @03:25PM (#497941)

              I don't buy it. "Publish or perish." No-one is going to publish without getting the credit for the work.

              • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Saturday April 22, @03:48PM (5 children)

                by kaszz (4211) on Saturday April 22, @03:48PM (#497950) Journal

                You are right in general. However if you want to test a bold theory there may be a use.

                • (Score: 2) by Wootery on Monday April 24, @08:43AM (4 children)

                  by Wootery (2341) on Monday April 24, @08:43AM (#498717)

                  A shame that research is so risk-averse.

                  • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Monday April 24, @09:39AM (3 children)

                    by kaszz (4211) on Monday April 24, @09:39AM (#498737) Journal

                    Few people will risk their major income or social standing. It's unconscious game theory and human nature in one.

                    To get past this there has to be a way to do business without these entanglements interfering. And thus we have professor emeritus and anonymity. I'll guess that's part of the attraction of big cities. People won't do personal judgement on stuff that doesn't matter or else they would not be doing anything else.

                    • (Score: 2) by Wootery on Monday April 24, @09:42AM (2 children)

                      by Wootery (2341) on Monday April 24, @09:42AM (#498740)

                      It's unconscious game theory and human nature in one.

                      Not really, it's a damaging cultural taboo on getting it wrong. Science doesn't profit by scientists being scared to make a guess that turns out to be wrong.

                      • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Monday April 24, @09:50AM (1 child)

                        by kaszz (4211) on Monday April 24, @09:50AM (#498746) Journal

                        The taboo has a good game theory backing even if no one intended it. But if no one knows who got it wrong. Well then the opinion of people matters less and actual facts matters more. Ad hominem got undermined.

                        • (Score: 2) by Wootery on Monday April 24, @04:43PM

                          by Wootery (2341) on Monday April 24, @04:43PM (#498937)

                          The taboo has a good game theory backing even if no one intended it

                          Not really. It's not set in stone that academia must always be punitive toward serious conjectures which turn out to be incorrect. Like I said, science suffers from this, and no-one benefits.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by AthanasiusKircher on Thursday April 20, @11:12PM (2 children)

      by AthanasiusKircher (5291) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 20, @11:12PM (#497108) Journal

      That doesn't just apply to grad students. Post docs and particularly pre-tenure academics need results just as much as grad students to publish (if not more so). Post-tenure academics who want to keep their labs, status, and salary also have a motivation.

      Anyhow, publication bias [wikipedia.org] is a problem that affects research at all levels for different reasons. But it's a somewhat different issue with different effects.

      In any case, I agree with PubMed's decision here. Obviously the best policy would just be to allow free access to full-text articles for scientific research in general. With full-text access, this stuff would be easy to see. (Contrary to the Vox article, most statements about conflicts aren't "really hard to find" or "buried" in articles -- a lot of journals put them on the first page of the article. And if they aren't there, they're at the very end. Any science journalist who doesn't look for such things immediately is a moron.)

      But, without full-text, I guess this is one important feature to add to abstracts. And the searchable aspect is the best feature: it can allow better stats to be easily collected on how much industry is really influencing research in a given area.

      • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @01:33PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @01:33PM (#497384)

        I beg to differ with you about the ease of finding the COI in published articles. Most of the times there is a statement saying "Authors declare COI" on the first page, or perhaps at the end of the *printed* article. When you get there, it mentions that details are available on-line. Here is the rub - you need to have access to jpurnal or pay ~$35 per article just to see what this COI is about. That is why most people don't bother to look it up. Pubmed putting it at the abstract level is therefore great. Anyone can check it out, as long as they have a decent connection to the net.

        sbgen

        • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Monday April 24, @09:44AM

          by kaszz (4211) on Monday April 24, @09:44AM (#498743) Journal

          Perhaps that is ONE reason for paywalled journals. Enable publication mills such that no person without an academic stake can criticize the poor lack of genuine content. And anyone that criticize can loose their income, career path or standing. A tits-for-tats standoff. Until some unwanted external part comes to the party.

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