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The Ethics of Publication in Public Health


Publication in peer-reviewed journals is a key part of advancement in science and a vital part of development of the scientific basis for public health practice. The process of publication should promote rigorous standards of high quality ethical research and the wide dissemination of their findings. When considering the issues arising from publication in public health, relevant frameworks include those from the field of publication ethics, public health practice and epidemiological research.

The consequences of poor, or frankly fraudulent science, can have a substantial adverse impact both on health, and on the use of resources, and public credibility because of the population based nature of public health interventions. Professional and scientific journals therefore have a critical role in promoting and preserving the highest possible ethical and professional standards to advance the field of public health practice.

I present here a personal view of some of these ethical issues, predominantly from the perspective of an experienced editor, but also to some extent that of reviewers and of course, the authors.


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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Selena Gray BSc, MBCHB, MD, FFPH, FRCP.

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Gray, S. The Ethics of Publication in Public Health. Public Health Rev 34, 12 (2012).

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Key Words

  • Ethics
  • public health
  • journals
  • publication
  • peer review