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


The goal of these best practices for supplements indexed for MEDLINE is to promote the appropriate disclosure of financial conflicts of interest and to allow MEDLINE users to judge the value of findings in published articles.

These best practices apply to:

  • all supplements or special issues that are separately published by a journal;
  • 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; and
  • supplements containing the proceedings of a conference, congress or other type of meeting sponsored or financed by an outside group.

All Supplements
Sponsorship or absence of sponsorship for journal supplements must be clearly indicated in both print and electronic versions of journals at the time of the original publication of the supplement issue.

Supplements Sponsored by Outside Organizations
If a journal supplement is sponsored by an outside organization, 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 must contain the disclosure information described below. An “outside organization” is one not affiliated with the journal; it 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 for authors must:

  • specifically document any financial relationship that each 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 text of the article; and
  • appear within the paginated text of the article and not elsewhere in the issue.

Disclosure information for editors or guest editors must:

  • specifically document any financial relationship that each editor 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; and
  • appear in the supplement, preferably on the Table of Contents page.

Helpful guidelines related to disclosure statements have been published by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (see http://www.icmje.org/#conflicts).

Supplements Not Sponsored by Outside Organizations
Disclosure information must:

  • include an explicit statement of no outside organization involvement; and
  • appear in the journal issue, preferably on the Table of Contents page.

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