A toxicology journal has issued an expression of concern for a group of papers about the controversial herbicide glyphosate after concluding that some of the authors didn’t adequately disclose their ties to the maker of the product.
At issue are five articles that appeared in a 2016 supplement to Critical Reviews in Toxicology, a Taylor & Francis title, about the chemical, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s blockbuster weed-killer Roundup. Although the authors of the articles don’t overlap perfectly, Keith Solomon, of the University of Guelph, in Canada, appears on three of the articles; Gary Williams, of New York Medical College, appears on three as well.
Williams was caught up in a ghost-writing scandal after court documents revealed that he had put his name on a published paper written by Monsanto employees. Solomon served on a panel funded by Monsanto that undercut the conclusions of a report from the World Health Organization that glyphosate is probably cancerous to people.
According to the expression of concern, which was first reported by Bloomberg today: Continue reading Journal flags papers, saying authors didn’t adequately disclose ties to Monsanto
Peer reviewers, like authors, are supposed to declare any potential conflicts of interest. But what happens when they don’t?
Take this case: In a court transcript from Feb. 23, 2017, Bryan Hardin testified that he was a peer reviewer on a 2016 paper in Critical Reviews in Toxicology, which found that asbestos does not increase the risk of cancer. In the deposition, Hardin—who works at the consulting firm Veritox—also said that he has testified in asbestos litigation on behalf of automakers, such as Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler, but said he had not disclosed these relationships to the journal.
Last year, the first author of the 2016 review withdrew a paper from another journal (by the same publisher) which concluded asbestos roofing products are safe, following several criticisms — including not disclosing the approving editor’s ties to the asbestos industry. In this latest case, the journal told us it believes the review process for the paper was up to snuff, but two outside experts we consulted said they believed Hardin’s relationships — and failure to disclose them — should give the journal pause.
We obtained a copy of the transcript from Christian Hartley, who was representing a man suing a mining company because the man developed cancer after being exposed to asbestos at work. When Hartley asked Hardin whether he had told the journal about testifying for companies involved in asbestos litigation, Hardin responded:
Continue reading What should journals do when peer reviewers do not disclose potential conflicts?