Conflict of Interest exists when an author (or the author’s institution), reviewer, or editor has financial or personal relationships with other persons or organizations that inappropriately influence (bias) his or her actions. The existence of such relationships does not necessarily represent true conflict of interest. The potential for conflict of interest can exist whether or not an individual believes that the relationship affects their judgment. Financial relationships (such as employment, consultancies, stock ownership, honoraria, paid expert testimony, patents) 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 .
All participants in the peer-review and publication process-not only authors but also peer reviewers, editors, and editorial board members of journals-must consider their conflicts of interest when fulfilling their roles in the process of article review and publication and must disclose all relationships that could be viewed as potential conflicts of interest.
When authors submit a manuscript of any type or format they are responsible for disclosing allfinancial and personal relationships that might bias or be seen to bias their work.
b. Peer Reviewers
Reviewers should be asked at the time they are asked to critique a manuscript 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, and should recuse themselves from reviewing specific manuscripts if the potential for bias exists. Reviewers must not use knowledge of the work they’re reviewing before its publication to further their own interests.
c. Editors and Journal Staff
Editors who make final decisions about manuscripts should recuse themselves from editorialdecisions if they have conflicts of interest or relationships that pose potential conflicts related toarticles under consideration. Other editorial staff members who participate in editorial decisions must provide editors with a current description of their financial interests or other conflicts (as they might relate to editorial judgments) and recuse themselves from any decisions in which aconflict of interest exists. Editorial staff must not use information gained through working with manuscripts for private gain. Editors should publish regular disclosure statements about potential conflicts of interests related to the commitments of journal staff. Guest editors should follow these same procedures.
2. Reporting Conflicts of Interest
Articles should be published with statements or supporting documents, declaring: