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Funder interference in addiction research: an international survey of authors
journal contributionposted on 2017-09-01, 00:00 authored by Peter MillerPeter Miller, Florentine MartinoFlorentine Martino, S Gross, Ashlee CurtisAshlee Curtis, Richelle MayshakRichelle Mayshak, Nicolas Droste, K Kypri
OBJECTIVE: Scientific research is essential to the development of effective addiction treatment and drug policy. Actions that compromise the integrity of addiction science need to be understood. The aim of this study is to investigate funder (e.g. industry, government or charity) interference in addiction science internationally. METHOD: Corresponding authors of all 941 papers published in an international specialist journal July 2004 to June 2009 were invited to complete a web questionnaire. A sensitivity analysis with extreme assumptions about non-respondents was undertaken. RESULTS: The questionnaire was completed by 322 authors (response fraction 34%), 36% (n=117) of whom had encountered at least one episode (median=3, Interquartile range=4) of funder interference in their research: 56% in Australasia, 33% in Europe, and 30% in North America. Censorship of research outputs was the most common form of interference. The wording or writing of reports and articles, as well as where, when and how findings were released were the areas in which influence was most often reported. CONCLUSIONS: Funder interference in addiction science appears to be common internationally. Strategies to increase transparency in the addiction science literature, including mandatory author declarations concerning the role of the funder, are necessary.