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Consistency, please

The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) announced today a new policy for disclosure of study authors' financial ties or potential conflicts of interest. The move was made in response to a lack of consistency among journals' disclosure requirements, as described in an editorial by the group:

Although efforts are under way to establish uniform reporting systems, there is currently no uniform vehicle for the disclosure of financial associations. Thus, authors may provide similar information to different journals in multiple formats. In addition, slight differences among journals in requirements for reporting can lead to confusion, as the same individual may report different information to different journals.

The ICMJE created a disclosure form that will be used by all journals under the ICMJE umbrella, including the New England Journal of Medicine, Annals of Internal Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association. The form, which the group is encouraging other journals to adopt, asks researchers to disclose their own relevant financial and nonfinancial ties as well as any relevant financial associations involving their spouse or children.

The disclosure document and editorial can be found at the ICMJE's Web site.

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