Conflict Vitae, COI Toolkit, etc.

An editorial in today’s Philly Inquirer subtitled “Who’s Buying the Science?” concludes that researchers must clearly state: “Here are our results; here’s how we got them; here’s where the money came from; here’s where we work; here’s what we’ve done in the past. Hide any part of that, for whatever hair-splitting reason, and skepticism (which is a good thing, and the backbone of science) is justified if it flares into cynicism.”

Last week, Science magazine announced FASEB’s new COI Toolkit “developed to help the scientific community better navigate financial relationships between academia and industry.” FASEB also recently held a “Call to Action” meeting on July 17th at which participants discussed the development of more consistent policies for disclosing financial relationships between academia and industry. The nicely implemented COI Toolkit derives from 3 guiding principles:

Guiding Principle 1: Investigators must conduct research activities objectively.
Guiding Principle 2: Investigators must operate with transparency.
Guiding Principle 3: Investigators must be accountable to all stakeholders.

FASEB defines stakeholders in the last principle as “including the public, sponsors of research, home institutions, research teams, and human subjects and patients.” The Toolkit includes items organized by stakeholder, and the level of detail includes very specific guidance, such as “Pre-publication review by an industry sponsor should take no more than 60 days.”

A letter in The Lancet suggests creation of a “Conflict Vitae” – “a single document with a single set of definitions for disclosure of financial conflicts of interest.”

And down the road, possibly a COI version of, where investigators seeking to publish data will need to register all their potential conflics of interst?



  1. Alla Katsnelson said

    Hi –

    I’m the news editor at The Scientist and find your blog really helpful – thank you!

    Just wanted to mention that we covered this too ( as it’s one of the issues we try to stay abreast of. Just wanted to get on your radar if we aren’t already…

    -Alla Katsnelson

  2. Trevor Lane said

    The Conflict Vitae is not a new proposal.
    My previous proposal for a multipurpose Conflictionis Vitae

    suggests that all potential conflicts of interest be addressed in a standardised, linkable, and updatable way. Ideally, in addition to registering one’s own potential financial conflicts, one should declare those of others, such as family members, relatives, or employer, as well as one’s potential non-financial conflicts.

  3. […] sure if the FASEB toolkit and proposals for Conflict Vitae can solve these issues, especially as research teases out how COI may play out in the […]

  4. […] at what time point. This sort of gets back to Dr. Rubenfeld’s suggestion in The Lancet for a Conflict Vitae, but does not address the failure of such disclosure to resolve the underlying problems (perhaps […]

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