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Uniform conflict rules needed

US GAO wants single policy across funding agencies, but defers call for open access

Eugene Russo(erusso@the-scientist.com)

US government agencies funding research should work toward a uniform conflict of interest policy, according to a US Government Accounting Office (GAO) report released on Friday (November 14). The GAO studied but did not offer any recommendations on making government-funded research data freely available to the public.

GAO study author Richard Cheston, assistant director of the GAO's Natural Resources and Environment branch, told The Scientist that the GAO felt it “premature” to make recommendations on data release, given that it would involve “carefully walking through a minefield of concerns.” However, the GAO did call for more immediate release of research results from the Department of Education.

The recommendations were part of a report titled “University research: Most federal agencies need to better protect against financial conflicts of interest,” which was compiled at the request of Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala). The GAO last reported on conflict of interest 10 years...

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