Conflicts of Interest--Moving Beyond Disclosure

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Science  09 Feb 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5506, pp. 989
DOI: 10.1126/science.291.5506.989

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Management of conflicts of interest at research universities requires balancing the benefits of faculty entrepreneurial activities with the danger that such activities could distract faculty from their primary mission and threaten free inquiry. The Howard Hughes Medical Institute has developed policies to minimize these conflicts; for example, its scientists may consult for a company or engage in uncompensated scientific collaboration with it, but not both. Implementation of such policies is best accomplished by requiring faculty to obtain pre-approval of all commercial agreements, rather than simply disclosing them after the fact.