A cross-border team led by investigative health and science journalist Hristio Boytchev and data journalists Simon Wörpel and Edgar Zanella Alvarenga addresses the underreported issue of conflicts of interest in research and medicine. 

Born several years ago at a Süddeutsche Zeitung “hackathon”, the idea for the data project grew after the journalists developed their own data model based on the “Follow the Money” concept of Aleph, open-source software used for structured data research in investigative newsrooms.

Over the past two years, the project has evaluated more than 3.3 million medical articles from 16,000 journals worldwide, including work by around 12 million authors. The project database is available for further research. 

The project revealed that conflicts of interest are widely underreported in scientific literature. It identified examples of failure to disclose conflicts of interest and showed which companies are heavily involved in research that has conflicts of interest.

Cover photo by Misael Moreno on Unsplash

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