NLM has changed policy on indexing supplements

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Based on Fact Sheet on Conflict of Interest Disclosure and Journal Supplements in MEDLINE published by NLM on May 2007 with the objective of improvement of the scientific quality and elucidation of possible conflicts of interest on supplements published by MEDLINE journals.

New procedures has been adopted by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) on indexing supplements in the MEDLINE database since May 2007 . This decision was published in Fact Sheet on Conflict of Interest Disclosure and Journal Supplements in MEDLINE, on NLM site, but it was not widely released for the indexing centers.

The objective of this new measure is to release the information of possible conflicts of interest or financing and to permit users to judge the value of the published results, besides to improve the scientific journals quality.

The supplements are the collection of texts of specific subjects, reports and annals of congress or guidelines published as complementary or support edition that are published with some or all the journals issues. Usually, they are sponsored by external for profit sources different of those of the regular edition of the journal and it can have an invited publisher to permit its production out of the editorial routine and the peer review process usually adopted by the journal publisher.

The NLM’s technical note includes orientations for the publishers about the supplements publication:

– If an external organization sponsors the supplement edition, conferences works, other scientific activity or studies dedicated or related to a proprietary product, the supplement must include clear information about the conflicts of interest existent.

– The conflicts of interest declaration must be specific and to direct all the financial relation among the invited publishers and the authors and the sponsor organization and some interest that these organizations represent, such as some lucrative product discussed or involved in the supplement or in the article.

– When there is a special or invited publisher for the supplement, the same journal policy on conflict of interest must be adopted by each supplement author. For authors, it’s recommended the information on conflict of interest be in the paginated text of the article, contrary to some other fasciculus place.

For supplements that has been published since 2008, it will be required the declaration of inexistence of conflict in the paginated text of the article.

NLM suggests the use of directresses and models of declarations of conflict of interest published by the International Committee of the Medical Journals Publishers (Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals: Writing and Editing for Biomedical Publication), sections IID – Conflicts of interest and IIIF – Supplements, Theme Issues, and Special Series .

The NLM’s policy will be applied not only for the supplements or special fasciculus, but also for the special sections or group of articles in a regular numerated fasciculus of a journal if the external sponsor, invited publisher or a proprietary product with a topic be indicated or for supplements with the conferences annals, congress or other type of meeting sponsored or financed by a external group.

BIREME has discussed the new NLM procedures at Internal Work Group on Health Scientific Literature and will launch a specific recommendation for LILACS and SciELO (Scientific Electronic Library Online) publishers.

An example of specific policy on supplements is at RAMB – Revista da Associação Médica Brasileira.