Department Blog

Health Sciences Libraries

PLoS Med & NYT: Doctors, drug companies, and ethics

January 31st, 2012 by Mary Wood

The following PLoS Medicine and New York Times articles are currently topics of online discussion and debate.


Challenging Medical Ghostwriting in US Courts
Bosch X, Esfandiari B, McHenry L (2012)
PLoS Med 9(1): e1001163
Published January 24, 2012

“Complaints about the ethics of medical ghostwriting have increased in the last decade, but little has changed. Corruption of the scientific literature through ghostwriting persists in medicine due to the enormous profits for all stakeholders, including the pharmaceutical industry that creates the publication strategy, academic researchers acting as key opinion leaders (KOLs) for industry, universities employing KOLs, medical journals and their proprietors, including medical societies and publishers, and medical communication companies employing ghostwriters.”


US to force drug firms to report money paid to doctors
by Robert Pear
New York Times
Published January 16, 2012

“To head off medical conflicts of interest, the Obama administration is poised to require drug companies to disclose the payments they make to doctors for research, consulting, speaking, travel and entertainment.
Many researchers have found evidence that such payments can influence doctors’ treatment decisions and contribute to higher costs by encouraging the use of more expensive drugs and medical devices.”



This current PLoS Medicine article references another publication from September 2010,

Fugh-Berman AJ (2010)
The Haunting of Medical Journals: How Ghostwriting Sold “HRT”
PLoS Med 7(9): e1000335

“In recent litigation against Wyeth, more than 14,000 plaintiffs brought claims related to the development of breast cancer while taking the menopausal hormone therapy Prempro (conjugated equine estrogens [CEEs] and medroxyprogesterone acetate [MPA]). Some 1500 documents revealed in the litigation provide unprecedented insights into how pharmaceutical companies promote drugs, including the use of vendors to produce ghostwritten manuscripts and place them into medical journals. These documents became public when PLoS Medicine and The New York Times intervened in the litigation. Both intervenors successfully argued that ghostwriting undermines public health and that documents proving the practice should be unsealed.”


which, in turn, references another New York Times article,

Medical papers by ghostwriters pushed therapy
Natasha Singer
New York Times
August 4, 2009

“Newly unveiled court documents show that ghostwriters paid by a pharmaceutical company played a major role in producing 26 scientific papers backing the use of hormone replacement therapy in women, suggesting that the level of hidden industry influence on medical literature is broader than previously known.”

Guide to Writing for Veterinary Journals

January 30th, 2012 by Mary Wood


…..Writing for Publication in Veterinary Medicine :
…..a practical guide for researchers and clinicians

… Mary Christopher and Karen Young

…..A concise booklet about the process of writing and submitting to journals, the editorial and peer review process, and other facets of publishing.    Provided free online by Wiley-Blackwell, this 28-page guide may benefit graduate students, residents, and early-career faculty preparing to publish articles in veterinary medicine journals.

Available free, online.


Mary Christopher, DVM, PhD, Diplomate ACVP, Diplomate ECVCP, Professor
School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis
Karen Young, VMD, PhD, Clinical Professor
School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Comparison of Research Networking Tools and Research Profiling Systems

January 26th, 2012 by

A team of researchers and librarians at Northwestern University have compiled an extensive chart comparing Research Networking tools and Research Profiling Systems. Modeled after a Wikipedia entry comparing reference management software, “Comparison of Research Networking Tools and Research Profiling Systems”  resides at

The team worked hard to ensure inclusion of the most up-to-date and accurate information in the Wikipedia article, but recognize that they may have made inadvertent errors or omissions.  Readers are welcome to edit and update the article at any time on their own.

CDC: Safe Practices Human & Animal Medical Diagnostics Labs

January 20th, 2012 by Mary Wood

MMWR Supplements: Current Volume (2012)
January 6, 2012
v.61 Suppl:1-105

Guidelines for Safe Work Practices in Human and Animal Medical Diagnostic Laboratories
Recommendations of a CDC-convened, Biosafety Blue Ribbon Panel

download pdfaccess Appendix


The material in this report originated in the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases.

CDC and the National Institutes of Health addressed the topic in their publication Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories, now in its 5th edition (BMBL-5).    BMBL-5, however, was not designed to address the day-to-day operations of diagnostic laboratories in human and animal medicine.

In 2008, CDC convened a Blue Ribbon Panel of laboratory representatives from a variety of agencies, laboratory organizations, and facilities to review laboratory biosafety in diagnostic laboratories. The members of this panel recommended that biosafety guidelines be developed to address the unique operational needs of the diagnostic laboratory community and that they be science based and made available broadly.

These guidelines promote a culture of safety and include recommendations that supplement BMBL-5 by addressing the unique needs of the diagnostic laboratory. They are not requirements but recommendations that represent current science and sound judgment that can foster a safe working environment for all laboratorians.

download pdf

Librarians, Open Access Advocates Oppose Research Works Act

January 11th, 2012 by Mary Wood

The newly proposed bill Research Works Act (H.R.3699) “has exacerbated tensions between open access advocates and the scholarly publishing industry over the dissemination of  publicly funded scientific and medical research.”  (M.Kelly, 1/9/12)

Incredulous and irate blog posts and editorials are appearing, in direct opposition to the Association of American Publishers (AAP), who are supportive of the bill.


Librarians, Open Access Advocates ‘Vehemently Oppose’ Research Works Act

The Digital Shift Library Journal Blog

Michael Kelly
January 9, 2012

Essentially, the bill seeks to prohibit federal agencies from conditioning their grants to require that articles reporting on publicly funded research be made accessible to the public online,” wrote Heather Joseph, the executive director of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC),

Kevin Smith, the scholarly communications officer at Duke University, took exception on his blog to the assertions made by the publishing industry:

I am stunned by the audacity of the claim that research articles are ‘produced’ by private sector publishers!  I think the producers of these works are sitting at desks and labs scattered around my campus, and thousands of other college and university campuses.  They are not paid by publishers either to do the research or to write their articles.


Stop Making Sense (Scholarly Publishing Edition)

ACRLog (ACRL Blog)
Association of College and Research Librarians

Maura Smale
January 6, 2012

Yesterday I was flabbergasted to read about the Research Works Act (hat tip to @CopyrightLibn and @RepoRat), legislation which is strongly supported by the Association of American Publishers. As described on the AAP website:

The Research Works Act will prohibit federal agencies from unauthorized free public dissemination of journal articles that report on research which, to some degree, has been federally-funded but is produced and published by private sector publishers receiving no such funding. It would also prevent non-government authors from being required to agree to such free distribution of these works. Additionally, it would preempt federal agencies’ planned funding, development and back-office administration of their own electronic repositories for such works, which would duplicate existing copyright-protected systems and unfairly compete with established university, society and commercial publishers.

I recommend reading the AAP’s statement in full — it’s truly head-spinning…


Research Bought, Then Paid For

New York Times, Op-Ed Contributor

January 10, 2012

The [NIH] policy has been quite unpopular with a powerful publishing cartels that are hellbent on denying US taxpayers access to and benefits from research they paid to produce…

This is the latest salvo in a continuing battle between the publishers of biomedical research journals like Cell, Science and The New England Journal of Medicine, which are seeking to protect a valuable franchise, and researchers, librarians and patient advocacy groups seeking to provide open access to publicly funded research.

Data Management Plans: Tips, Tricks and Tools

January 6th, 2012 by Mary Wood

Presenters: Carly Strasser and Perry Willett

Audience: Scientists, librarians, staff and researchers

Wednesday Jan 11 @ 2 pm

Thursday Jan 19 @ 10 am (same webinar presented)

Summary:   Although scientists learn about methods for collecting data, there is less emphasis on managing the resulting data effectively.
This is an increasingly important skill set, especially since funding agencies like NSF have begun to require data management plans.
In this webinar, we will cover best practices for scientific data management and review how to use the new DMPTool, a free online wizard from CDL for creating Data Management Plans.
There will be time allotted for discussion of data management and the DMPTool at the close of the webinar.

Preregistation required

Webinar will be recorded and available later.

Previous UC3 webinars available here.

PubMed–revised Advanced Search Page

January 5th, 2012 by Bruce Abbott

The National Library of Medicine has released an online tutorial for the new Advanced Search Builder which replaces the previous Advanced Search page in PubMed.

Here’s a link to additional information on the Advanced Search Builder: