Relationship advice

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    Report proposes guidelines for navigating academic-industrial partnerships.

    A university conflict-of-interest committee should review contracts between academic scientists and industry sponsors that are worth US$5,000 or more, concludes a draft report entitled Recommended Principles & Practices to Guide Academy–Industry Relationships. Researchers should never ghostwrite research papers and should retain oversight of intellectual property and a stake in the proceeds from patents, according to the proposal. The report offers 56 guidelines for maintaining academic freedom and upholding ethical conduct in partnerships and collaborations between academics and industrial sponsors. Issued on 18 September, it was written by the American Association of University Professors in Washington DC in response to the increasing number and complexity of such partnerships, says co-author Cary Nelson, a past president of the association. “The corrupting power of money has become much more clear,” he says, noting that issues such as sponsors suppressing data from studies and persuading eminent researchers to add their names to papers they did not write seem to be on the rise.

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    Relationship advice. Nature 490, 133 (2012) doi:10.1038/nj7418-133c

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