JAMA Psychiatry Publication Bias

Academic Nepotism Vanderbilt University

Fay Canyon, Sedona Arizona. Photo by Doug Berger.
JAMA Psychiatry Editor-in-Chief Dr. Stephan Heckers, Professor of Psychiatry at Vanderbilt University; Publication Bias, Conflict of Interest, and Editorial Ethics Violation Concern

JAMA Psychiatry Publication Bias, Conflict of Interest, Academic Nepotism at Vanderbilt University Medical School, and Editorial Ethics Violation concern:

JAMA Psychiatry Editor-in-Chief, and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Dr. Stephan Heckers blocks the publication of a paper by Berger, valued as "important" and called to be published in peer-review, but critical of a JAMA Psychiatry article by a member of Dr. Hecker's Department, Dr. Steven Hollon.

Dr. Heckers was on the Editorial Board of JAMA Psychiatry when this paper written by his staff Dr. Steven Hollon, who is also at the Department of Psychiatry at Vanderbilt, was published in JAMA Psychiatry: Hollon, et al., Effect of Cognitive Therapy With Antidepressant Medications vs Antidepressants Alone on the Rate of Recovery in Major Depressive Disorder A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Psychiatry. 2014;71(10):1157-1164.

It is a clear conflict of interest for Dr. Heckers to be making publication decisions on the Berger article that critiqued an article written by his staff. Thus, Dr. Heckers would be violating editorial ethics and engaging in academic nepotism by protecting members of his Department who submit articles to JAMA Psychiatry where he is Editor-in-Chief.