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BACKGROUND: Forthright reporting of financial ties and conflicts of interest of researchers is associated with public trust in and esteem for the scientific enterprise. METHODS/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We searched Lexis/Nexis Academic News for the top news stories in science published in 2004 and 2005. We conducted a content analysis of 1152 newspaper stories. Funders of the research were identified in 38% of stories, financial ties of the researchers were reported in 11% of stories, and 5% reported financial ties of sources quoted. Of 73 stories not reporting on financial ties, 27% had financial ties publicly disclosed in scholarly journals. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Because science journalists often did not report conflict of interest information, adherence to gold-standard recommendations for science journalism was low. Journalists work under many different constraints, but nonetheless news reports of scientific research were incomplete, potentially eroding public trust in science.




Cook, D. M., Boyd, E. A., Grossmann, C., & Bero, L. A. (2007). Reporting science and conflicts of interest in the lay press. PLoS ONE, 2(12). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0001266

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