Conflict of interest
What is a conflict of interest?
‘A conflict of interest is a confict between the private interests and the official or professional responsibilities of a person in a position of trust’ (Merriam-Webster Dictionary [online], available at: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/conflict%20of%20interest).
Sources of a conflict of interest
The source of a conflict of interest may be financial and non-financial relations, which may directly affect the objective, impartial and reliable conduct of the research, the presentation of the results and the evaluation of the text by potentially influencing the opinions and actions of authors, editors and reviewers.
- Financial relations:
- research support (for example, purchase of equipment, researchers’ fees) by an organisation that may result in a financial profit or loss following publication;
- the author’s employment (recent, present, or future) by an organisation that may result in a financial gain or loss;
- personal financial interests, such as stocks or shares in companies that may experience a profit or financial loss in connection with publication, remuneration received (including reimbursement of the costs of participating in conferences, symposia), patents or patent applications related to research.
- Non-financial relations:
- any personal or professional relations with people or organisations that may affect the publication process, such as social relations, professional dependence, professional cooperation, membership of a governmental or non-governmental organisation, consulting and expert functions.
Types of conflicts of interest
- Potential – if the activities of a person involved in the publishing process may affect their impartiality or disinterestedness in the future.
- Real – if a person participating in the publishing process has financial or non-financial relations with organisations or persons affected by their decisions.
- Apparent – if a person involved in the publishing process is suspected of pursuing their own benefit by acting against or in accordance with the interest of another person or organisation, although in reality this is not the case.
Disclosure of a conflict of interest
- The editors require authors, reviewers and editors to disclose all potential, real and apparent conflicts of interest:
- the author makes a declaration of a conflict of interest when registering an article in the publication system; if an article has been written by more than one author, the declaration must be submitted by all co-authors; an author who is a member of the editorial team or the scientific council indicates this in a statement of a conflict of interest and is excluded from the publication process;
- a reviewer makes a statement about the discovered conflict of interest or its absence before the full content of the article is made available, and in a situation where the suspicion of a conflict appears later, at every stage of the publication process, and even after the article is published;
- the managing editor is obliged to immediately inform the editor-in-chief of a possible conflict of interest;
- a reader who suspects an undisclosed conflict of interest in a published article reports it to the editor-in-chief.
- The publisher requires all members of the editorial team to submit statements regarding any personal and professional, financial and non-financial relations that may affect the course of the publishing process.
- The editorial board will publish explanations and corrections regarding disclosed conflicts of interest on the journal’s website.