An article by Michael Droller outlines the role of an editor in the process for publishing industry-sponsored studies and reviews the guidelines that exist to ensure these responsibilities are upheld. He describes how the decisions made by the editor on what industry-sponsored research to publish have an impact not only on the reliability of the journal but also on the trust between journal and reader.
Appropriate analysis and interpretation of data, transparency, objectivity and integrity are all necessary components of a manuscript that should be met by the authors and industry sponsors. Editors have to assume that investigators and sponsors have adhered to such guidelines in the production of the article and then need to be equally responsible in identifying suitable experts that can provide an unbiased validation and constructive review of the information presented. Editors also need to be able to identify research misconduct, assure the quality of the report, maintain freedom of expression and also be willing to retract or publish corrections where necessary. Such responsibilities should not be taken lightly and The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) have issued a code of conduct and best practice guidelines for journal editors (http://publicationethics.org/). Ultimately, for industry research, there needs to be a certain level of trust between author, sponsor and editor and between editor and reader.