Is partial behaviour a plausible explanation for the unavailability of the ICMJE disclosure form of an author in a BMJ journal?
Keywords:ICMJE disclosure form, partial behaviour, personal conflicts of interest, BMJ, COPE, competing interests, research integrity, transparency, Basra Reed Warbler, Acrocephalus griseldis
AbstractThis case study about the ethical behaviour in the field of scholarly publishing documents an exception on the rule for research articles in the medical journal BMJ Open that ICMJE disclosure forms of authors must be made available on request. The ICMJE, the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, has developed these forms for the disclosure of conflicts of interest for authors of medical publications. The case refers to the form of the corresponding author of an article in BMJ Open on retraction notices (Moylan and Kowalczuk, 2016). The corresponding author is a member of the council of COPE, the Committee on Publication Ethics. I will argue that the unavailability of the form relates to personal conflicts of interest with the corresponding author about my efforts to retract a fatally flawed study on the breeding biology of the Basra Reed Warbler Acrocephalus griseldis. I describe my attempts to get the form and I will argue that its unavailability can be attributed to partial behaviour by BMJ, the publisher of BMJ Open. This study complements other sources reporting ethical issues at COPE.
Al-Sheikhly, Omar, Nader, Iyad, and Barbanera, Filippo (2013), ‘Breeding ecology of the Basra Reed Warbler in Iraq’ Zoology in the Middle East, 59, 107-117. DOI: 10.1080/09397140.2013.810870
Al-Sheikhly, Omar, Nader, Iyad, and Barbanera, Filippo (2015), ‘A response to the comment of Porter et al. (2015) on “Breeding ecology of the Basra Reed Warbler in Iraq”’ Zoology in the Middle East, 61, 193-199. DOI: 10.1080/09397140.2015.1023425
Anonymous (2015), ‘How do we hold COPE and COPE member journals / publishers more accountable?’. https://pubpeer.com/publications/2E91E8916236A6EE03F372E64FBBAF (accessed 6 September 2017).
Anonymous (2016), ‘Final investigation on serious allegations of fabricated and/or falsified data in Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) - 1 July 2016’. Report, sine loco. Available at https://www.academia.edu/33827046
Barbour, Virginia, Bloom, Theodora, Lin, Jennifer, and Moylan, Elizabeth (2017), ‘Amending published articles: time to rethink retractions and corrections?’ BioRxiv preprint. DOI: 10.1101/118356
BirdLife International (2017), ‘Species factsheet: Acrocephalus griseldis’. Available at http://www.birdlife.org/ (accessed 21 June 2017).
Bloom, Theodora, Ganley, Emma, and Winker, Margaret (2014), ‘Data access for the open access literature’ PLOS Biology, 12, e1001797. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001797
Brookes, Paul (2015), ‘COPE: nothing more than a useless trade association’. http://www.psblab.org/?p=410 (accessed 21 June 2017).
Carlisle, Benjamin (2017), ‘Recapping the recent plagiarism scandal’. http://www.translationalethics.com/2017/06/02/ (accessed 21 August 2017).
D'Andrea, Rafael, and O'Dwyer, James (2017), ‘Can editors protect peer review from bad reviewers?’ PeerJ preprint. DOI: 10.7287/peerj.preprints.3005v4
Dijk, Klaas van (2017), ‘Commentary on a study about retraction notices in journals of BioMed Central’. Available at http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/6/11/e012047.responses
Dougherty, Michael (2017), ‘Correcting the scholarly record in the aftermath of plagiarism’ Metaphilosophy, 48, 258-283. DOI: 10.1111/meta.12241
Drenth, Pieter (2011), ‘The European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity’. Report, Strasbourg.
Elia, Nadia, Wager, Elizabeth, and Tramèr, Martin (2014), ‘Fate of articles that warranted retraction due to ethical concerns: a descriptive cross-sectional study’ PLOS ONE, 9, e85846. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0085846
Fazaa, Nadheer, Dunn, Jonathon, and Whittingham, Mark (2017), ‘Distributions and community composition of birds in Iraq’s Central Marsh’ International Journal of Biodiversity, 2017, 1-28. DOI: 10.1155/2017/4198690
Godlee, Fiona, and et al. (2014), ‘BMJ policy on declaration of interests’. Report, sine loco. Available at http://www.bmj.com/about-bmj/resources-authors/forms-policies-and-checklists/declaration-competing-interests
Ioannidis, John (2012), ‘Scientific inbreeding and same-team replication’ Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 73, 408-410. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2012.09.014
Jacobs, Adam (2011), ‘Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Getting away with publication misconduct: a ghostly tale’ The Write Stuff, 20, 108-109.
Lubet, Steven (2017), ‘Investigator bias and the PACE trial’ Journal of Health Psychology, 22, 1123-1127. DOI: 10.1177/1359105317697324
McCoy, Matthew, and Emanuel, Ezekiel (2017), ‘Why there are no 'potential' conflicts of interest’ JAMA, 317, 1721-1722. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2017.2308
Montgomery, Kathleen, and Oliver, Amalya (2017), ‘Conceptualizing fraudulent studies as viruses: new models for handling retractions’ Minerva, 55, 49-64. DOI: 10.1007/s11024-016-9311-z
Moylan, Elizabeth, and Kowalczuk, Maria (2016), ‘Why articles are retracted: a retrospective cross-sectional study of retraction notices at BioMed Central’ BMJ Open, 6, e012047. DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-012047
Porter, Richard, Batten, Leo, Burton, John, Collinson, Jon, Cowan, Peter, Kennerley, Peter, Kirwan, Guy, Newell, Dick, Pearson, David, Riddington, Roger, Salim, Mudhafar, Sheldon, Robert, Scott, Derek, and Woodcock, Martin (2015a), ‘Towards a better understanding of Basra Reed Warbler ecology? A comment on Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013)’ Zoology in the Middle East, 61, 190-192. DOI: 10.1080/09397140.2015.1023424
Porter, Richard, Batten, Leo, Burton, John, Collinson, Jon, Cowan, Peter, Kennerley, Peter, Kirwan, Guy, Newell, Dick, Pearson, David, Riddington, Roger, Salim, Mudhafar, Sheldon, Robert, Scott, Derek, and Woodcock, Martin (2015b), ‘Rejoinder to the response of Al-Sheikhly et al’ Zoology in the Middle East, 61, 200. DOI: 10.1080/09397140.2015.1023426
Schneider, Leonid (2015), ‘Join the Committee, ignore Publication Ethics’. https://forbetterscience.com/2015/10/31/ (accessed 22 August 2017).
Steinbrook, Robert (2017), ‘Disclosing the conflicts of interest of US Food and Drug Administration Advisory Committee Members’ JAMA Internal Medicine, 177, 919. DOI: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.2093
Teixeira da Silva, Jaime (2017a), ‘The Basra Reed Warbler saga: where is the original data?’ Sandgrouse, 39, 89.
Teixeira da Silva, Jaime (2017b), ‘COPE requires greater consistency and accountability’ Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, 8, 11-13. DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2017.v8n1p11
VSNU (2014), ‘The Netherlands Code of Conduct for Academic Practice’. Report, The Hague. Available at http://www.vsnu.nl/nederlandse-gedragscode-wetenschapsbeoefening.html
LicenseAuthors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).