A Declaration of Conflicting Interests policy refers to a formal policy a journal may have to require a conflict of interest statement or conflict of interest disclosure from a submitting or publishing author.
‘Conflicts of interest arise when authors, reviewers, or editors have interests that are not fully apparent and that may influence their judgments on what is published. They have been described as those which, when revealed later, would make a reasonable reader feel misled or deceived.’
To ensure that the review process is free of conflicts:
- Editors should select a guest editor when there is a conflict of interest with respect to an author. Editors should ensure that reviewers are free of conflict of interest with respect to an author.
- Reviewers should contact the editorial office to declare any potential conflicts of interest in advance of refereeing an article.
Minor conflicts do not disqualify a reviewer from reporting on an article but will be taken into account when considering the referees’ recommendations.
All authors and co-authors are required to disclose any potential conflict of interest when submitting their article (e.g. employment, consulting fees, research contracts, stock ownership, patent licenses, advisory affiliations, etc.). If the article is subsequently accepted for publication, this information should be included in the end section.
Editors should not make any editorial decisions or get involved in the editorial process if they have any COI (financial or otherwise) for a submitted manuscript.
An editor may have COI if a manuscript is submitted from their own academic department or from their institution in such situations; they should have explicit policies for managing it.
When editors submit their own work to their journal, a colleague in the editorial office should manage the manuscript and the editor/author should recuse himself or herself from discussion and decisions about it.