Producing good quality articles implies:
• the ability to choose useful topics with total freedom according to the readers’ needs, keeping in mind that these needs may differ at times from an editor’s wishes, and;
• the freedom to put patients’ interests first, and not to follow a political, industrial or any other agenda that is unrelated to patients’ interests;
• access to all useful scientific data, and the freedom to fight for access if necessary;
• the freedom to tell the truth, without any political, economic, commercial or administrative pressure;
• the freedom to respond to criticism and to denounce false claims or statements.
This can be achieved only by people who have total editorial independence. The international WHO meeting on drug information, held in Madrid in 1985 defined independent editors as “having no commercial or other interest in the promotion of particular patterns of drug treatment, their sole aim being to optimise such treatment in the interests of the patient and society at large”.1 The organizational structure and financial resources of the bulletin should be capable of guaranteeing the editorial team's independence.2
Financial independence also creates sustainability, as discussed in Chapter 5. The editorial team and bulletin may become fragile if they are too dependent on sponsors who may decide at any time to end their support. However, if a bulletin has the support of a strong network of contacts, this may prevent sudden interruption of sponsorship.