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Should all medical research be published? The moral responsibility of medical journal editors
  1. Thomas Ploug
  1. Centre for Applied Ethics and Philosophy of Science, Department of Communication, Aalborg University Copenhagen, København, Denmark
  1. Correspondence to Professor Thomas Ploug, Centre for Applied Ethics and Philosophy of Science, Department of Communication, Aalborg University Copenhagen, København S 2450, Denmark; ploug{at}hum.aau.dk

Abstract

This article reinvigorates a key question in publication ethics: Is there research that it is permissible to conduct but that ought not to be published? The article raises the question in relation to two recent medical studies. It is argued (1) that the publication of these studies may cause significant harm to individuals, (2) that editors of medical journals have a moral responsibility for such harm, (3) that denial of publication is inadequate as an instrument to fulfil this moral responsibility and (4) that internationally acknowledged publication ethics codes should incorporate this aspect of editors’ moral responsibility.

  • publication ethics
  • research ethics

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Footnotes

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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