Conflict of interest in peer-reviewed journals

Conflict of interest (IOC) exists when there is a divergence between an individual’s private interests (competing interests) and his responsibilities for scientific and publishing activities, so that a reasonable observer may wonder whether the behavior or judgment of the individual was motivated by considerations of his or her competing interests. The IOC in publishing journals affects everyone interested in the integrity of research, including journals, research / academic institutions, funding agencies, popular media and the public. Journals are interested in the COI with respect to a specific manuscript. Some manuscripts can be chosen for inclusion in continuing education activities offered by the appropriate organization. The magazine, therefore, meets the criteria established by the accreditation center.

Everyone has some kind of COI. Having a competitive interest does not in itself mean transgression. However, it is a problem when conflicting interests may improperly influence (or be reasonably seen as influencing) someone’s responsibilities in the publishing process. If the IOC is not managed effectively, it can cause authors, reviewers and editors to make decisions that, consciously or unconsciously, tend to serve their conflicting interests at the expense of their responsibilities in the publication process, thus distorting the scientific enterprise. This consequence of COI is especially dangerous when it is not immediately apparent to others. In addition, the appearance of COI, even where it does not exist, can also erode trust in a journal, damaging its reputation and credibility.

This statement summarizes the main elements of COI policies with examples and options for dissemination and management.