Funding Food Science and Nutrition Research: Financial Conflicts and Scientific Integrity
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There has been substantial public debate about the susceptibility of research to biases of various kinds. The dialogue has extended to the peer-reviewed literature, scientific conferences, the mass media, government advisory bodies, and beyond. While biases can come from myriad sources, the overwhelming focus of the discussion, to date, has been on industry-funded science. Given the critical role that industry has played and will continue to play in the research process, the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) North America Working Group on Guiding Principles has, in this paper, set out proposed conflict-of-interest guidelines regarding industry funding for protecting the integrity and credibility of the scientific record, particularly with respect to health, nutrition, and food safety science. Eight principles are enumerated, specifying ground rules for industry-sponsored research. The paper, which issues a challenge to the broader scientific community to address all bias issues, is only a first step; the document is intended to be dynamic, prompting ongoing discussion and refinement.
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