Conflict of Interest

Overview

 A conflict of interest is a set of circumstances that creates a risk that professional judgment or actions regarding a primary interest will be unduly influenced by a secondary interest. Perceptions of conflict of interest are as important as actual conflicts of interest.

Financial relationships (such as employment, consultancies, stock ownership or options, honoraria, patents, and paid expert testimony) are the most easily identifiable conflicts of interest and the most likely to undermine the credibility of the journal, the authors, and of science itself. However, conflicts can occur for other reasons, such as personal relationships, academic competition, and intellectual beliefs. Authors should avoid entering in to agreements with study sponsors, both for-profit and non-profit, that interfere with authors’ access to all of the study’s data or that interfere with their ability to analyze and interpret the data and to prepare and publish manuscripts independently when and where they choose. Authors may be required to provide the journal with the agreements in confidence.

Participants

Every participant in the peer-review and publication process including, authors, editors, editorial board members, and reviewers must consider their conflicts of interest when participating in the process of article review and publication and must disclose all relationships that could be viewed as potential conflicts of interest.

Authors

When authors submit a manuscript, they are responsible for declaring all financial and personal relationships that might bias or be seen to bias their work. Authors are required to declare the conflict of interest at the time of manuscript submission either on the cover letter or in manuscript.

Peer Reviewers

When manuscript is submitted to reviewers for reviewers, they are asked if they have conflicts of interest that could complicate their review. Reviewers must disclose to editors any conflicts of interest that could bias their opinions of the manuscript. Reviewers are not allowed to use any part of the work they’re reviewing before its publication for their own interests.

Editors and Editorial Board Members

Editors who have conflicts of interest to articles under consideration should avoid making final decision on such manuscripts. Other editorial board members who participate in editorial decisions must provide conflicts.

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