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Formal education on publication and on publication ethics is an important gap in health careers
In November 2003, the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) published a revised version of their Uniform Requirements for manuscripts, first launched in 1979 by a small group of editors of general medical journals then simply named the Vancouver Group. This committee has produced six editions of the Uniform Requirements, the last one reviewing the whole document and including in the text a number of separate statements published independently by the ICMJE in the past years.1 The fifth edition was published in 1997.2
More than a half of the present document is devoted to ethical principles related to the process of evaluating and publishing manuscripts in biomedical journals and the relationships between editors, authors, peer reviewers, advertisers, and the media. A considered reading of the text is recommended mostly to editors, authors, and readers of biomedical literature; some main contents are commented on below.
Ethical principles in science publication are as critical as ethical principles in research conduct. Publication is an ultimate stage of scientific research; in fact, as it has been stated, science does not exist until it is published.3 Scientists have a critical role in most of today’s societies, which are firm believers in science dictations. Health sciences, moreover, deal with very sensitive constituents of people’s happiness and welfare. Hence, it would be desirable that researchers strictly respect conduct principles to better serve the interests of the community and to causing no damage.
Among the several ethical issues discussed by the ICJME, authorship is probably one of the major fields for misconduct in biomedical publication, and in which more discrepancies are to be found among researchers, and also among authors and editors. Also it should be said that most …