Our sample consisted of 40 journals, 20 selected from psychiatry and 20 from the general medical index. We selected 20 journals from each category with the highest Impact Factor (IF), on the basis of 2007 IF. We excluded the 14th-highest rated nonpsychiatric journal, Cochrane Database Systematic Review, because its articles are meta-analyses and do not include individual disclosures; we instead added a child- and adolescent-specific journal (in addition to the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry) to provide a broader sampling of policies beyond adult domains. Of the nonpsychiatry journals, we selected the 18 highest-ranking, peer-reviewed, nonpsychiatry journals. Because two of the psychiatry journals had a pediatric orientation, we added Pediatrics and the Journal of Pediatrics, which were closely matched to the IF of the two pediatric-psychiatry journals. The 20 psychiatric journals consisted of Archives of General Psychiatry, Molecular Psychiatry, American Journal of Psychiatry, Biological Psychiatry, Neuropsychopharmacology, Schizophrenia Bulletin, British Journal of Psychiatry, Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, CNS Drugs, Bipolar Disorders, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, European Neuropsychopharmacology, Schizophrenia Research, American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics, Psychological Medicine, Addiction and Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, with a mean IF of 5.959, median IF of 5.041, and a range of 3.139 to 15.976. The 20 nonpsychiatric journals included New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, Journal of the American Medical Association, Annals of Internal Medicine, Annual Review of Medicine, PLoS Medicine, British Medical Journal, Archives of Internal Medicine, Canadian Medical Association Journal, Annals of Medicine, American Journal of Medicine, Journal of Internal Medicine, Medicine, Annals of Family Medicine, Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Pediatrics, Journal of Pediatrics, American Journal of Preventative Medicine, Current Medical Research and Opinion, and Journal of General Internal Medicine, with a mean IF of 11.026, a median IF of 7.729, and a range of 2.876 to 52.589.
We used qualitative and quantitative approaches to evaluate the COI and disclosure policies that appeared in print or journal websites. If information was password-protected, we registered for accounts and gleaned as much information as was available on the journal website. If information was not available, our data indicate it as “NA.” The COI policies were analyzed by use of deductive content analysis, wherein the contents of the policies were analyzed according to predesignated domains (presented in Table 1 and Table 2) (22).
TABLE 1.Conflict of Interest Policies for Authors, Reviewers, and Editors in Both Psychiatric and Non-Psychiatric Journals
TABLE 2.Delineation of Specific Aspects in Conflict-of-Interest Declaration Policies for Authors