Publication of flu vaccines studies in prestigious journals are determined by the sponsor

February 13, 2009

Industry-sponsored studies on influenza vaccines are published in journals with higher rankings (impact factors) and are cited more than studies with other sponsors, but this is not because they are bigger or better, finds a study published on bmj.com today.

Tom Jefferson and colleagues at the Cochrane Vaccine Field in Italy identified and assessed 274 studies on influenza vaccines and analysed their methodological quality, prestige of the host journals (impact factor) and citation rates in the scientific literature.

They found no relationship between study quality, publication in prestige journals or their subsequent citation in other articles. They also found that influenza vaccine studies are of poor quality and those with conclusions in favour of the vaccines are of significantly lower methodological quality.

The single most important determinant of where the studies were published or how much they were cited was sponsorship. Those partially or wholly funded by industry had higher visibility.

The researchers also found no relationship between journal impact factor and the quality of the influenza vaccine studies it publishes, suggesting that the impact factor is not the robust quality indicator that publishers suggest and confirming some of the widely expressed doubts on its appropriateness as a means of rewarding researchers with promotions and funds.

Dr Jefferson concludes: "The study shows that one of the levers for accessing prestige journals is the financial size of your sponsor. Pharmaceutical sponsors order many reprints of studies supporting their products, often with in-house translations into many languages. They will also purchase publicity space on the journal. Many publishers openly advertise these services on their website. It is time journals made a full disclosure of their sources of funding."

Source: British Medical Journal

Explore further: Poor oral health and food scarcity major contributors to malnutrition in older adults

Related Stories

Racism as a public health threat

March 15, 2017

Black History Month came and went all too quickly—while it gave our nation a spotlight for the accomplishments and contributions of the black community, it also reminded us to reflect and focus on the threats facing African-Americans ...

Recommended for you

The ethics of tracking athletes' biometric data

January 18, 2017

(Medical Xpress)—Whether it is a FitBit or a heart rate monitor, biometric technologies have become household devices. Professional sports leagues use some of the most technologically advanced biodata tracking systems to ...

Study shows blood products unaffected by drone trips

December 7, 2016

In what is believed to be the first proof-of-concept study of its kind, Johns Hopkins researchers have determined that large bags of blood products, such as those transfused into patients every day, can maintain temperature ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.