The threat to scientific integrity in environmental and occupational medicine

Tong, Shilu & Olsen, Jorn (2005) The threat to scientific integrity in environmental and occupational medicine. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 62(12), pp. 843-846.

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Abstract

Over the last century, environmental and occupational medicine has played a significant role in the protection and improvement of public health. However, scientific integrity in this field has been increasingly threatened by pressure from some industries and governments. For example, it has been reported that the tobacco industry manipulated eminent scientists to legitimise their industrial positions, irresponsibly distorted risk and deliberately subverted scientific processes, and influenced many organisations in receipt of tobacco funding. Many environmental whistleblowers were sued and encountered numerous personal attacks. In some countries, scientific findings have been suppressed and distorted, and scientific advisory committees manipulated for political purposes by government agencies. How to respond to these threats is an important challenge for environmental and occupational medicine professionals and their societies. The authors recommend that professional organisations adopt a code of ethics that requires openness from public health professionals; that they not undertake research or use data where they do not have freedom to publish their results if these data have public health implications; that they disclose all possible conflicts; that the veracity of their research results should not be compromised; and that their research independence be protected through professional and legal support. The authors furthermore recommend that research funding for public health not be directly from the industry to the researcher. An independent, intermediate funding scheme should be established to ensure that there is no pressure to analyse data and publish results in bad faith. Such a funding system should also provide equal competition for funds and selection of the best proposals according to standard scientific criteria.

Impact and interest:

10 citations in Scopus
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6 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 45094
Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Articles free to read on journal website
Keywords: Threat, Integrity, Environmental, Occupational
DOI: 10.1136/oem.2005.021410
ISSN: 1351-0711
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > CLINICAL SCIENCES (110300)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (111705)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Health Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Deposited On: 24 Aug 2011 22:16
Last Modified: 03 Feb 2015 04:01

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