Conflicts of Interest
"Unfavorable Drug Studies Don't Get Published" by Psychiatric drug effectiveness inflated by not publishing unfavorable studies
"Journals' Ranking System Roils Research" by Gautam Naik, Wall Street Journal, August 24, 2012
Growing pressure on scientific journals to increase their influence in the research world is pushing them to ever further lengths to play the system that ranks scholarly publications. In July, a publication called Scientific World Journal retracted two papers about regenerative medicine, saying they had excessively cited another journal, Cell Transplantation.
At issue was the "impact-factor ranking," one of the most influential numbers in scholarship. The impact factor was invented more than 50 years ago as a simple way to grade journals, on the basis of how frequently their articles got cited in the literature.
But concerns have arisen that some journals' impact factor is artificially inflated by excessive citations—which appears to be why the editors of The Scientific World Journal retracted previously published work.
"These articles have both been retracted on the basis that they violate The Scientific World Journal's policy against citation manipulation," the Scientific World Journal said in a statement on its web site.
In response, Thomson Reuters, which publishes the impact-factor numbers, suspended the rankings for both the Scientific World Journal and Cell Transplantation for two years, a blow to the researchers who publish in those journals. The broader worry is that the once-obscure yardstick is now a ubiquitous tool for assessing scientific merit—a job it wasn't designed to do, and whose use is open to manipulation. Read more here.
A Comparison of DSM-IV and DSM-5 Panel Members' Financial Associations with Industry: A Pernicious Problem Persists, L. Cosgove, S. Krimsky, PLoS Med 9(3): e1001190. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001190 March 13, 2012
From Introduction: .....Although the composition of the task force has changed slightly since its formation in 2007 (e.g., Pilecki et al.  found 72% of the members had ties in early 2011) industry relationships persist despite increased transparency. Currently, 69% of the DSM-5 task force members report having ties to the pharmaceutical industry. This represents a relative increase of 21% over the proportion of DSM-IV task force members with such ties (57% of DSM-IV task force members had ties). This finding is congruent with emerging data from fields outside of psychiatry suggesting that transparency of funding source alone is an insufficient solution for eliminating bias –.
In 2006 we analyzed all DSM-IV panel members' financial associations with industry . We have undertaken a similar analysis for DSM-5 panels, which allowed us to compare the proportions of DSM-IV and -5 panel members who have industry ties. There are 141 panel members on the 13 DSM-5 panels and 29 task force members. The members of these 13 panels are responsible for revisions to diagnostic categories and for inclusion of new disorders within a diagnostic category.
Three-fourths of the work groups (Figure 1; ,–,,–) continue to have a majority of their members with financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry. It is also noteworthy that, as with the DSM-IV, the most conflicted panels are those for which pharmacological treatment is the first-line intervention. For example, 67% (N = 12) of the panel for Mood Disorders, 83% (N = 12) of the panel for Psychotic Disorders, and 100% (N = 7) of the Sleep/Wake Disorders (which now includes “Restless Leg Syndrome”) have ties to the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture the medications used to treat these disorders or to companies that service the pharmaceutical industry..... Read More.