AAAS Award for Scientific Freedom and Responsibility
2008 Award Recipient
Drummond Rennie is honored for his career-long efforts to promote integrity in scientific research and publishing.
The AAAS Award for Scientific Freedom and Responsibility, established in 1980, honors scientists, engineers, and their organizations whose exemplary actions, sometimes taken at significant personal cost, have served to foster scientific freedom and responsibility. The recipient receives $5,000 and a commemorative plaque.
Drummond Rennie is a visionary in safeguarding the integrity of how scientific information is gathered and communicated. His influential contributions are expressed in speeches and in numerous widely read and cited editorials on issues related to scientific integrity, including scientific misconduct, authorship, research accountability, conflicts of interest, and publication bias. Dr. Rennie was an early advocate of compulsory registration to inform scientists, medical professionals, and the public about which clinical trials have been conducted, including those with negative results. It is now standard practice that all clinical trials appear on a registry.
Dr. Rennie originated, organized, and chaired five International Congresses on Peer Review and Biomedical Publication to examine processes used to evaluate and disseminate biomedical information. What resulted was a new field of empirical research into how science is performed and translated into practice, focusing on such issues as how publishing is affected by peer review, industry-funded research, publication bias, and other factors.
Dr. Rennie has been a tireless advocate for individual scientists who have been pressured to suppress or limit publication of studies or specific outcomes of research. For example, he played a key role in shepherding papers demonstrating that nicotine was an addictive drug and that cigarettes caused cancer through to publication in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)—25 years before the Surgeon General reached the same conclusion. The publication of these papers, along with a press conference and the coverage the news received, is estimated to have reached 200 million people and had a significant effect on public policy.
Dr. Rennie has also contributed to the development of robust policies and procedures for institutional handling of allegations of research misconduct. He participated in the adoption of such procedures for the University of California system, testified before Congress, served on investigative panels in specific cases, and was a member of the U.S. Commission on Research Integrity.
Drummond Rennie serves as Deputy Editor (West), JAMA and is Adjunct Professor of Medicine, Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California, San Francisco. He holds a medical degree from Cambridge University.