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Letters to the Editor   |    
Note From the Editor
Robert Freedman, M.D.
Am J Psychiatry 2010;167:1407-1407. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2010.167.11.1407
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Copyright © American Psychiatric Association

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For the Treatment in Psychiatry series and other clinical research and treatment articles in the Journal, we solicit articles from senior authors who can inform our experienced clinical readership about their current thinking on the treatment of difficult clinical problems that do not yet have fully resolved solutions. Accordingly, we often choose authors who are directly involved in the development of new treatments through leadership of relevant National Institutes of Health and industrial clinical trials, because they have the broadest and most relevant experience. We recognize that a risk of this choice is that the authors who are most involved in the development of a new treatment may also have conflicts of interest, both commerical and intellectual.

We therefore invite Editorials on many of our articles from other experts in the field to highlight the significance as well as the limitations of the articles and to place them in perspective for readers who are not experts themselves. While the absence of obvious conflicts, such as financial support from a sponsoring pharmaceutical company, is one criterion that we consider in the choice of editorialists, many experts, by virtue of their work in a field, have conflicts of interest themselves.

The Journal has required full disclosure of competing interests since 2006. We recognize that this information, although necessary, may not be sufficent for readers to detect specific biased statements. Each paper is assessed by several expert reviewers in a first stage of review and then in a second stage by the Deputy Editors and other members of the Editorial Board. Conflict of interest is considered in these evaluations. Claims beyond what is supported by the data lead to significant revision or rejection of the paper. After publication, Letters to the Editor from interested readers like Drs. Gorelick and Appelbaum can also identify incorrect or biased statements in articles.

As Editor, I have agreed not to accept any financial support from pharmaceutical companies. In my role, I read and review each article in the Journal and all comments from the review process to add my assurance that the important new information in each article that we publish for psychiatrists and their patients is as independent and authoritative as possible.

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