Dean’s response

It is admirable that Wiens and Cota posit an opinion advocating for a strong system of instituting, monitoring, and enforcing disclosure policies that are “in line with the standards of continuing medical education and journal submission.” In responding to the authors’ stance it is important to highlight existing mechanisms dealing with disclosure under which faculty members affiliated with UBC’s Faculty of Medicine operate.

First, the faculty is governed by the UBC Board of Governors, enacted by its comprehensive policies including Policy 97 (revised in 2005), which mandates a wide range of prescriptive behavior with regard to conflict of interest and conflict of commitment, as well as citing procedures to be followed by all faculty members engaged in research. Compliance to procedures began online in 2006, and I am pleased to report that the majority of our faculty have filed as required. Compliance is monitored by the Faculty of Medicine monthly, reported at least annually to faculty executive, and more frequently to department heads, with further action being taken if required. People have become more aware of the benefits of transparency and disclosing relevant potential conflict while giving lectures to medical students and trainees, as implicit in the policy. This awareness-building requires an ongoing educational process of our large distributed faculty.

Second, I point to the existence of the faculty’s Continuing Medical Education/Continuing Professional Development Guidelines, which provide an expectation that conflicts of interest will be declared in these situations.

Third and finally, I note that both the American Association of Medical Colleges and the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada are also wrestling with conflict of interest policies related to the influence of industry on medical education, and we will continue to monitor those organizations’ outcomes.

Consequently, we are involved in a process to review existing policies (our own and others) to determine if additional measures may be required in declaring the conflict of interest as it applies more specifically to educating students to meet accreditation standards.

—Gavin Stuart, MD,
Dean, UBC Faculty of Medicine

Gavin Stuart, MD, Dean, UBC Faculty of Medicine,. Dean’s response. BCMJ, Vol. 51, No. 4, May, 2009, Page(s) 163 - Letters.

Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.

About the ICMJE and citation styles

The ICMJE is small group of editors of general medical journals who first met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually. The ICMJE created the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals to help authors and editors create and distribute accurate, clear, easily accessible reports of biomedical studies.

An alternate version of ICMJE style is to additionally list the month an issue number, but since most journals use continuous pagination, the shorter form provides sufficient information to locate the reference. The NLM now lists all authors.

BCMJ standard citation style is a slight modification of the ICMJE/NLM style, as follows:

  • Only the first three authors are listed, followed by "et al."
  • There is no period after the journal name.
  • Page numbers are not abbreviated.

For more information on the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, visit

BCMJ Guidelines for Authors

Leave a Reply