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Research is increasingly financed by commercial firms, private foundations or state authorities. The conditions attached to such funding may potentially affect or compromise the research. Sponsorship may involve not only financial resources, but also the provision of materials, operational matters, access to information etc.

Scientists have a moral duty to submit credible research results for publication. Being directly responsible for their work, they must not make agreements compromising their access to the data or their ability to independently analyse and publish such data. Authors should describe the role (if any) of a sponsor in the following phases: study concept; data collection, analysis and interpretation; writing of the paper and the decision to submit the paper for publication. If no sponsor took part in any of these phases, the authors should indicate the fact. The misrepresentation of findings by sponsors directly involved in the research are similar to methodological distortions.

If authors are paid by an agency that has a proprietary or financial interest in the results, the journal may ask them to include a statement such as: “We had full access to all of the data in the study and accept full responsibility for data integrity and the accuracy of data analysis.” In justified cases, the journal editors must check the protocol and/or contracts associated with the study before it is accepted for publication. The journal has the right not to assess an article if a sponsor controls its copyright. Similarly, the journal has the right to reject an article with unclear funding or where there are doubts about the influence of a sponsor on the study results.

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