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Health Sciences Libraries

Research Ethics Training – Graduate Students

August 28th, 2012 by Mary Wood

The Chronicle of Higher Education article:

How to Train Graduate Students in Research Ethics: Lessons from 6 Universities

discusses the new report from the Council of Graduate Schools,  “Research and Scholarly Integrity in Graduate Education: A Comprehensive Approach,” outlining the findings from the Project for Scholarly Integrity.  The six participating institutions were U Alabama Birmingham, U Arizona, Columbia, Emory, Michigan State, and Penn State.  The survey tools and the lessons learned are available at the Council on Graduate Schools.  Other universities are encouraged to consult the models to assess and improve their own ethics training.

Federal regulations require that all NSF grant recipients be trained in the “responsible and ethical conduct” of research; in 2009, the NSF said it would require only that institutions certify that they have provided ethics training.

Recipients of NIH funding must also comply with the requirement for Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research (2009 NOT-OD-10-019).  Congress established the Office of Research Integrity to promote integrity in biomedical and behavioral research supported by the U.S. Public Health Service.


Related resources and sites at UC Davis include:


Research Compliance and Integrity


Research Ethics: RCR Program



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.”