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Fact Sheet
Conflict of Interest Disclosure and Journal Supplements in MEDLINE®


Journals indexed for MEDLINE® sometimes publish supplements devoted to a specific topic and that may be financed by profit-making organizations or by organizations representing for-profit interests. The supplements may have a guest editor or may be produced outside of the routine editorial and peer review processes of the journal. Citation of these supplements in MEDLINE may give the appearance that for-profit interests have acquired a place in the scholarly literature while working outside of the usual standards for publication that were considered when the journal was approved for indexing in MEDLINE by the NLM Literature Selection Technical Review Committee. Supplements will thus be cited and indexed for MEDLINE only if certain conditions are met.

If a supplement is sponsored by an outside organization, or reports on a conference or other activity that was sponsored by an outside organization, or is devoted to a special topic that is in any way related to a proprietary product, then the articles in the supplement will not be cited and indexed for MEDLINE unless the supplement includes the disclosure information that is described below. An “outside organization” does not include the organization for which the journal is the publishing organ (e.g., the American Academy of Dermatology and the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology), nor does it include any U.S. or non-U.S. government agency.  

Disclosure information must be specific and include any financial relationship that each editor or author has with the sponsoring organization and the for-profit interests the organization represents, and with any for-profit product discussed or implied in the supplement or the text of the articles. When there is special or guest editorship for the supplement, then the same disclosure information must appear for each editor. The disclosure information must appear within the paginated text of the article, and not elsewhere in the issue. Helpful guidelines related to disclosure statements have been published by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (see http://www.icmje.org/#conflicts).

This policy is applied to all supplements or special issues that are separately published by a journal, but may also be applied to special sections or groups of articles within a regularly-numbered issue of a journal if outside sponsorship, guest editorship or a proprietary product as a topic are indicated. The policy is also applied to supplements containing the proceedings of a conference, congress or other type of meeting sponsored or financed by an outside group.

If a supplement is not sponsored by an outside organization, then an explicit statement to that effect should appear in the journal issue, preferably on the Table of Contents page. All sponsorship or absence of sponsorship should be clearly indicated in both print and electronic versions of journals at the time of the original publication of the issue.

The goal of this policy is not to exclude the citation of published articles or information from MEDLINE; rather, the goal is to promote more and appropriate disclosure of financial conflicts of interest, and to allow MEDLINE users to judge the value of findings in published articles.

For further information about indexing policy for MEDLINE, please contact:

Customer Service
Attn: Head, Quality Assurance Unit
Index Section
National Library of Medicine
Bethesda, Maryland 20894
Phone: 301-496-3261
Fax: 301-402-2433
e-mail: custserv@nlm.nih.gov (custserv@nlm.nih.gov)

A complete list of NLM Fact Sheets is available at:
Alphabetical list: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/pubs/factsheets/factsheets.html
Subject list: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/pubs/factsheets/factsubj.html

Or write to:

FACT SHEETS
Office of Communications and Public Liaison
National Library of Medicine
8600 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, Maryland 20894

Phone: (301) 496-6308
Fax: (301) 496-4450
email: publicinfo@nlm.nih.gov