Wednesday, February 24, 2010

N - Elsevier sets standards for sponsored content

Elsevier announces new custom publication guidelines, sets new standards for publishing sponsored content - 24 Feb 2010
STM publisher Elsevier, Netherlands, has announced that it will publicly share its internal custom publication guidelines. The global publisher seeks to provide scientific and medical communities, insight into a new and practical set of publishing standards for producing custom and sponsored publications. The new guidelines were first developed in June 2009 and updated in December 2009 following a comprehensive internal review of custom publications practices within Elsevier.

The review was initiated when it was revealed that two Elsevier publications from 2003, presented as an unbiased journal, were in fact sponsored publications lacking adequate disclosures. The Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine published reprinted original, peer-reviewed research articles, and other summarised articles, conference reviews and news clips and was single-sponsored by a global pharmaceutical company. Contrary to the high standards that Elsevier sets for itself, the employees responsible did not make the sponsorship sufficiently clear to its potential readers.

The guidelines cover the necessity for full disclosure of funding and the origin of content and provide guidance on obtaining permission for the use of content. The guidelines also point employees to best practices for medical publications from the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and the Institute of Medicine.

Publishing units will consider in their approval processes, whether a custom publication is consistent with Elsevier’s historical standard for world-class content and if appropriate disclosures are made. They also need to follow the established record retention policy to ensure the company maintains an archive of all custom products produced. Affected employees have confirmed receipt of the guidelines and attended presentations on implementation. Elsevier management will continue to monitor and assess adherence to the guidelines and standards by all its business units globally.

Thanks to Emma Campbell

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