Textbook Author Conflict of Interest Policy
In addition to syllabi and on-line course information, courses and clerkships designate required and recommended textbooks. In some cases, the primary editors or authors of such textbooks are UCSF faculty who receive substantial royalties from the sales of the textbooks. It would be counter productive to forbid the requiring or recommending of all textbooks edited by UCSF faculty because often the textbook is the best available for the students’ learning. Additionally, these textbooks often are included in the set of full on-line textbooks licensed by the UCSF Library, which is a benefit to students.
The following policy has be created to minimize a conflict of interest in requiring or recommending a textbook whose sale to UCSF medical students financially benefits a UCSF faculty member and to produce transparency about these situations. This policy does not address UCSF faculty members who make small contributions to required or recommended textbooks (eg, write a few chapters in the book) because royalties from these smaller contributions are generally negligible.
II. Selection of Required and Recommended Textbooks Edited or Authored by UCSF Faculty
Courses and clerkships are expected to routinely review their required and recommended textbooks for continued relevance. For required or recommended textbooks edited or authored by members of the UCSF faculty, courses and clerkships must undertake one of the following two procedures to minimize a conflict of interest:
- The course or clerkship can designate one or more closely related alternative textbooks to the one edited or written by a UCSF faculty member so that students can choose not to purchase or use the one edited or written by a UCSF faculty member;
- Every two years, the course or clerkship can undertake a formal review of at least one alternative to the textbook edited or authored by a UCSF faculty member. If the textbook edited or authored by the UCSF faculty member is chosen as the single required or recommended textbook in a particular discipline, then the course or clerkship must submit a written summary of their review to the Integrated Curriculum Steering Committee. If a textbook is shared across multiple courses or clerkships, then a small group of individuals representing the discipline in question and several courses may undertake this process.
III. Transparency about Required and Recommended Textbooks Edited or Authored by UCSF Faculty
To maintain transparency about required or recommended textbooks edited or authored by members of the UCSF faculty, students will be informed in three ways:
- Lists of required and recommended textbooks for Essential Core years 1 and 2 courses will indicate those edited or authored by members of the UCSF faculty and provide a link to this policy;
- Courses and clerkships will indicate in their on-line courses and, if applicable, their syllabi, required and recommended textbooks edited or authored by UCSF faculty members and will provide a link to this policy;
- The first time that a faculty member who edits or authors a textbook required or recommended by a course or clerkship lectures in the course, s/he will address this potential conflict of interest and, if relevant, explain their perspective (eg, this scholarship contributes to their knowledge in this area and improves their teaching ability; they donate the royalties to UCSF student programs; they donate the copies they receive to students or to faculty of resource-poor institutions).
Approved by the SOM Curriculum Committees May 2013