Conflict of Interest

What is Conflict of interest?conflict of interest

“Conflict of interest is a set of conditions in which professional judgement concerning a primary interest (such as patients’ welfare or the validity of research) tends to be unduly influenced by a secondary interest (such as financial gain).” [1]

What do you need to declare?

It is better to “err on the side of greatest disclosure” [2] when declaring conflicts of interest. In other words, it is best to disclose all competing interests that would embarrass you if it came under scrutiny after publication [3].

Examples of conflict of interest include the following relationships with firms that have a stake in the subject of the manuscript:

Financial – any financial relationship e.g. grants and research funding; reimbursement for attending a symposium; a fee for speaking; a fee for consulting; travel grants etc.

Employment – direct employment (full- or part-time). This includes current negotiations regarding future employment.

Stock ownership – any stock or investment in the firm

Intellectual property – any patents, royalties etc.

Personal – a close relationship, academic link, or rivalry with a person, political party, or special interest group whose interests may be affected by publication of your paper [2–4].

It is important to note that declaring potential conflicts of interest does not necessarily imply any wrongdoing. It demonstrates good publishing practice; and upfront declarations will increase readers’ confidence in your work by allowing them to independently assess any potential bias [4].

[1] Thompson DF. (1993) Understanding financial conflicts of interest. The New England Journal of Medicine; 329: 573–576

[2] Goozner, M., Caplan, A., Moreno, J., Kramer, B.S., Babor, T.F. and Husser, W.C. (2008) A common standard for conflict of interest disclosure. Center for Science in the Public Interest. Available at: http://www. cspinet.org/new/pdf/20080711_a_common_standard_for_conflict_of_interest_disclosure__final_for_conference. pdf [Accessed 11 April, 2016].

[3] BMJ Publishing Group Ltd. (2016) BMJ Declaration of Competing Interest. Available at: http://www.bmj.com/content/suppl/2003/03/13/317.7154.291.DC1 [Accessed 11 April, 2016].

[4] Edanz Group Global Ltd. (2016) Declaring Conflicts of Interest. Available at: https://www.edanzediting.com/resources/declaring-conflicts-interest [Accessed 11 April, 2016].