Conflict of Interest Policy

Public trust in the scientific process and the credibility of published articles depend in part on how transparently conflicts of interest are handled during the planning, implementation, writing, peer review, editing, and publication of scientific work. A conflict of interest exists when professional judgment concerning a primary interest (such as patients’ welfare or the validity of research) may be influenced by a secondary interest (such as financial gain). Perceptions of conflict of interest are as important as actual conflicts of interest. For these reasons, the authors are to fill in and sign a Disclosure of Conflicts of Interest, as well as to include one of the following statements at the end of their article:

The authors certify that they have NO affiliations with or involvement in any organization or entity with any financial interest (such as honoraria; educational grants; participation in speakers’ bureaus; membership, employment, consultancies, stock ownership, or other equity interest; and expert testimony or patent-licensing arrangements), or non-financial interest (such as personal or professional relationships, affiliations, knowledge or beliefs) in the subject matter or materials discussed in this manuscript.

The authors report the following details of affiliation or involvement in an organization or entity with a financial or non-financial interest in the subject matter or materials discussed in this manuscript. [the nature of the conflict is to be specified].

The authors are also to declare sources of support of their work, including sponsor names along with explanations of the role of those sources if any in the study.

To support the above statements, editors may request that authors of a study sponsored by a funder with a proprietary or financial interest in the outcome sign a statement, such as “I had full access to all of the data in this study and I take complete responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.”

In addition to this, journal submissions are assigned to editors in an effort to minimize potential conflicts of interest. The following relationships between editors and authors are considered conflicts and are avoided: current colleagues, recent colleagues, recent co-authors, and doctoral students for which editor served as committee chair. After papers are assigned, individual editors are required to inform the managing editor of any conflicts not included in the list above. In the event that none of the editors satisfy all of the conflict screens, co-editors who are least conflicted will be assigned to the manuscript. In addition, co-editors who are least conflicted are assigned for all paper submissions by sitting editors. Journal submissions are also assigned to referees to minimize conflicts of interest. After papers are assigned, referees are asked to inform the editor of any conflicts that may exist.