1. Woods, Anne RN, APRN,BC, CRNP, MSN, Clinical Director of Journals

Article Content

As I perused an article on a topic related to my nurse practitioner practice, I noticed the author's bio. You see, I knew her, and the fact that she worked for a pharmaceutical company that manufactures medications used to treat the disease discussed in the article. Her industry affiliation wasn't noted anywhere. Could I then believe what she wrote in the article, or was it biased? Did she receive a financial incentive to write the article and portray the company's views? Was the research accurately portrayed or were the numbers manipulated to show favorable results for the particular medication? And broadly, could I trust the validity of the journal's editorial content?


Investigate integrity

Readers of professional journals face this dilemma every day. How do you really know what you're reading is valid enough to prompt practice changes? Trustworthy editorial content is the most important attribute of any nursing or medical journal. Once readers question the validity of a journal's articles, the journal loses its professional integrity.


To find out if the journal you're reading is trustworthy, refer to the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals developed by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. 1 Also, consider the following:


[white diamond suit] Does the journal clearly indicate when an article was previously published in another journal? If the article was first published by another journal, the editors should cite the article's primary publication information, including the initial publication dates. As an author, you should only submit your original manuscript to one journal at a time to prevent copyright infringement. If your article is rejected by a publication, then you're free to submit it elsewhere.


[white diamond suit] Did the author receive a financial incentive or remuneration from a company for writing the article? Does the author work for the company that makes the product mentioned in the article? Both of these cases should be disclosed to the editor before publication. If the editor decides to publish the article, the information should be passed on to the reader. To preserve editorial integrity, most journals won't publish articles written by authors with an industry conflict of interest unless it's clear there's no evidence of bias.


[white diamond suit] Is the journal peer-reviewed? A journal is considered peer-reviewed when the majority of its published articles are reviewed by experts who aren't part of the editorial staff. 2 The peer reviewers are held to the same standards of disclosure as the authors. Peer review maintains editorial quality and addresses bias before the manuscript is published.



Financial concerns

Does advertising impact editorial content, or does editorial separate "church and state"? Unless properly indicated as a special advertising section, the positioning of ads next to a related article can bias editorial content.


Take special care when you review research, especially since we use research to change nursing practice. Did industry fund the study, and did the researchers receive financial support? Was the sample size adequate for the tested hypothesis, and did the researchers use the correct statistical method to evaluate the data? Was the statistical method apparent enough so that you can access the original data and verify the reported results? 3


Obviously, you can't believe everything you read. It takes a skilled reader to thoroughly evaluate published articles for potential bias before integrating information into practice. The staff members of Nursing Management are in agreement with the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts for Biomedical Journals as set forth by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. Every day we strive to preserve editorial integrity so that you can continue to trust the journal's gold standard content and its position as The Journal of Excellence in Nursing Leadership.



Figure. No caption a... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. No caption available.



1. International Committee of Medical Journal Editors: "Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals." Available on-line at: [Context Link]


2. Ibid. [Context Link]


3. Ibid. [Context Link]

Section Description


Guest editorial