Conflict of interests
Conflicts of interest (COIs, also known as "competing interests") occur when matters not related to research can reasonably be perceived to affect the neutrality or objectivity of a work or its evaluation. This can happen at any stage of the research cycle, including during the experimental phase, during the writing of a manuscript, or in the process of turning a manuscript into a published article.
If you are not sure, declare a potential interest or discuss with the editors. Undeclared interests may result in sanctions. Articles with undeclared conflicts that are discovered later may be rejected.
Conflicts of interest do not always prevent a work from being published or from someone participating in the peer review process. However, they must be declared. A clear description of all possible conflicts— whether they actually had an impact or not — allows others to make informed decisions about the work as they review it.
If conflicts of interest are found after publication, the article may need to be re-evaluated, revised, or, in severe cases, retracted. For more information on COI see the ICMJE and WAME guide.
Conflicts include the following:
- Financial - funding and other payments, goods and services received or expected by the authors in connection with the subject of the work or from an organization interested in the result of the work.
- Affiliations - serving on an advisory board or a member of an organization with a stake in the results of the work.
- Intellectual property is patents or trademarks owned by someone or their organization.
- Personal - friends, family, relationships and other close personal connections.
- Ideology - Beliefs or activities, such as political or religious, related to work.
- Academic - competitors or one whose work is criticized.
Authors should list all potential interests in the "Conflicts of Interest" section, which should explain why the interests might be a conflict. If there are none, authors should indicate: "The author(s) declare(s) that there is(are) no conflicts of interest in relation to the publication of this article." Submitting authors are responsible for co-authors who declare their interests.
Authors must declare current or recent funding (including article processing fees) and other payments, goods, or services that may affect the work. All funding, whether conflict or not, must be declared on the Funding Statement.
Declared conflicts of interest will be considered by the editor and reviewers and included in the published article.