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Allegations Involving Unresolved Questions of Scientific Misconduct 

Ethical and Legal Considerations

Annette Flanagin

Allegations Involving Unresolved Questions of Scientific Misconduct

Cases may arise in which an allegation requires the journal editor to have access to the data on which the manuscript or article in question was based. JAMA's authorship statement includes the following language:

If requested, I shall produce the data on which the manuscript is based for examination by the editors or their assignees.

For discussion of reasonable time limits for which authors should keep their data, see 5.6.1, Intellectual Property: Ownership, Access, Rights, and Management, Ownership and Control of Data.

If an author refuses a request for access to the original data, or if the author or the author’s institution refuses to comply with the journal’s request for information about the allegation, the journal and its editor may be left in a precarious situation. The ICMJE recommends that journals publish an expression of concern detailing the unresolved questions regarding an act of scientific misconduct in their publications (see also 5.4.5, Retractions, Expressions of Concern).22

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