The world's top medical journals, including the Canadian Medical Association Journal, have launched a beta version of a new financial disclosure form they will require future researchers to fill out before their studies can be published in their pages.
According to a joint editorial to be published in all the participating journals, the uniform disclosure requirements are meant to both make life simpler for researchers facing different reporting standards at each journal, and to ensure a standard measure of researchers' potential conflicts of interest.
We ask authors to disclose 4 types of information. First, their associations with commercial entities that provided support for the work reported in the submitted manuscript (the time frame for disclosure in this section of the form is the life span of the work being reported). Second, their associations with commercial entities that could be viewed as having an interest in the general area of the submitted manuscript (the time frame for disclosure in this section is the 36 months before submission of the manuscript). Third, any similar financial associations involving their spouse or their children younger than 18 years of age. Fourth, nonfinancial associations that may be relevant to the submitted manuscript.
Besides the CMAJ, the journals involved include the Journal of the American Medical Association, the New England Journal of Medicine, the Lancet and the Medical Journal of Australia.
The journals will meet in April to review the form and researchers' reaction to it, and may adjust the four-page form then.