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Elsevier's new Custom Publication Guidelines set new Standards for Publishing Pharma-Sponsored Content

PHILADEPLHIA, Pennsylvania, February 23, 2010 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Elsevier, the world's leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical (STM) information products and services announced today that it is publicly sharing its internal custom publication guidelines so that the scientific and medical communities can have insight into a new and practical set of publishing standards for producing custom and sponsored publications. The new guidelines (available at were first developed in June 2009 and updated in December 2009 following a comprehensive internal review of custom publications practices within Elsevier.

"We recognized the need to align our procedures for custom publications across the business so they are consistent with our high standards of transparency, disclosure and ethical behavior and consistent with Elsevier's reputation and responsibility for delivering world-class content," said Michael Hansen, CEO, Elsevier Health Sciences. "We think the time has come for a higher level of bar-setting for disclosure of origin and funding and encourage other publishers to take similar steps if they haven't already."

The review was initiated when it was revealed that two Elsevier publications from 2003, presented as an unbiased journal, were in fact sponsored publications lacking adequate disclosures. The Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine published reprinted original, peer-reviewed research articles, plus other summarized articles, conference reviews and news clips and was single-sponsored by a global pharmaceutical company. Contrary to the high standards that Elsevier sets for itself, the employees responsible did not make the sponsorship sufficiently clear to its potential readers. (See press releases from May 7, 2009, ( 01203) and June 4, 2009 ( cws_home/companynews05_01233) at for further background.)

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The guidelines cover the necessity for full disclosure of funding and the origin of content and provide guidance on obtaining permission for the use of content. The guidelines also point employees to best practices for medical publications from the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and the Institute of Medicine.

Publishing units will consider in their approval processes whether a custom publication is consistent with Elsevier's historical standard for world-class content and whether appropriate disclosures are made. They also need to follow the established record retention policy to ensure the company maintains an archive of all custom products produced. Affected employees have confirmed receipt of the guidelines and attended presentations on implementation. Elsevier management will continue to monitor and assess adherence to the guidelines and standards by all its business units globally.

"These guidelines will help ensure our readers are aware of the context in which content is presented to them," said Hansen. "Further, this experience has demonstrated how much we value the input of our various communities of authors, editors and others in helping us stay true to our mission. Feedback on these guidelines and other parts of our business will be continually welcomed."

About Elsevier

Elsevier is a world-leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services. The company works in partnership with the global science and health communities to publish more than 2,000 journals, including The Lancet ( and Cell (, and close to 20,000 book titles, including major reference works from Mosby and Saunders. Elsevier's online solutions include ScienceDirect (, Scopus (, Reaxys (, MD Consult ( and Nursing Consult (, which enhance the productivity of science and health professionals, and the SciVal suite ( and MEDai's Pinpoint Review (, which help research and health care institutions deliver better outcomes more cost-effectively.

A global business headquartered in Amsterdam, Elsevier ( employs 7,000 people worldwide. The company is part of Reed Elsevier Group PLC (, a world-leading publisher and information provider, which is jointly owned by Reed Elsevier PLC and Reed Elsevier NV. The ticker symbols are REN (Euronext Amsterdam), REL (London Stock Exchange), RUK and ENL (New York Stock Exchange).

    Tom Reller, Vice President,
    Global Corporate Relations,

SOURCE Elsevier

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SOURCE Elsevier
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