What’s Good for the Goose…

May or may not be good for the gander. At least that’s sort of what the University of California, San Francisco’s vice chancellor for research is saying when it comes to full disclosure of relationships for universities. The accepted norm (even if not always enacted perfectly) for faculty researchers today with respect to potential/perceived conflicts of interest is disclose. The central tenet is that if one discloses a relationship with a funder or partner in an open and clear way, then the likelihood of that funder’s positions tainting one’s own research or positions is lessened – or at the very least, those reviewing it can cast a shrewd eye toward ferreting out any related impact.

UCSF is co-sponsoring a medical conference today with the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, a conservative think tank based in New York City: Data and Technology: Keys to Precision Medicine and the 21st Century Cures.

While the topic of the meeting is one that many agree merits conversation, several faculty members at UCSF have raised the question of whether the promotional materials for the meeting sufficiently disclosed that the Manhattan Institute’s political advocacy role. Their stated concern being that without such full disclosure, UCSF is essentially guilty by association of supporting the political advocacy perspectives of the Manhattan Institute. See Guilt by Association, by Colleen Flaherty at Inside Higher Ed for more.

It is widely accepted that institutional financial conflicts of interest should be disclosed – many institutions have published policies (e.g., Duke University, Stanford University, etc.). I don’t see a published policy of this sort at UCSF currently, but this experience seems likely to lead them to developing one if one does not currently exist click this.


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