Cyagen is paying for citations

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  • Format Websites
  • Language/s English
  • Target Audience Self-directed learning
  • EBM Stage 3 - Appraising evidence
  • Duration <5 mins
  • Difficulty Intermediate

Key Concepts addressed


It took a very long time for journals and academics to accept the importance of declaring financial conflicts of interest. Along the way, various interest groups have tried to wriggle and argue that, hey, look, their particular specific financial incentive won’t really influence behaviour, so it shouldn’t really be declared. That’s why it is appropriate to have a single set of cultural norms: so that there is no wriggle room or ambiguity about declaring the big financial stuff, or the curios that might sometimes be salient. Cyagen, here, are offering a financial incentive to say something in an academic paper. That’s an unambiguous financial conflict of interest. I don’t think it is the worst thing in the world, but I do think it should be declared, because that’s what we do. Exceptions to the “declare when you’ve been paid money to say stuff” rule are not a good idea. Since Cyagen stand by their offer, I can’t really see why they – or those who’ve accepted their financial incentive – would even want a free pass to be excluded from the standard practice of declaring this kind of income, as under the normal rules. So in summary, my view is: it’s not evil, it is odd, it was expressed in extremely crass terms, and it should be declared.


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