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Personal Communication and Credit Lines 

Ethical and Legal Considerations

Annette Flanagin

Personal Communication and Credit Lines

Following the rationale that including a person’s name in an acknowledgment may imply endorsement of a manuscript’s content, citing an individual’s name in a personal communication citation may carry the same implication. The ICMJE recommends that authors who name an individual as a source for information in a personal communication, be it through conversation, telephone call, or a letter sent by mail, fax, or email, obtain written permission from that individual to be named.7 JAMA and the Archives Journals follow the ICMJE recommendation and require authors to forward copies of all personal communication permissions to the editorial office. The same policy might apply to identifying names in credit lines in the legends of illustrations and photographs; however, obtaining such permission from the owner of the illustration or photograph would be part of obtaining permission to include such works as required under the auspices of copyright law (see 5.6.7, Intellectual Property: Ownership, Access, Rights, and Management, Copying, Reproducing, Adapting, and Other Uses of Content).

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