Policy on Conflict of Interest, Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent for publications
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.
The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) states in its Guidelines on Good Publication Practice (2003) that:
‘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.’
Many scholars, researchers and professionals may have potential conflicts of interest, that could have an effect on – or could be seen to – have an effect on their research. As a result, some journals require a formal declaration of conflicting interests enabling a statement to be carried within the paginated published article.
A potential conflicting interest might arise from relationships, allegiances or hostilities to particular groups, organizations or interests, which may influence excessively one’s judgments or actions. The issue is particularly sensitive when such interests are private and/or may result in personal gain.
Articles will be evaluated fairly and will not necessarily be rejected when any competing interests are declared.
Examples of conflicts of interest might include the following, although it is not an exhaustive list:
If there are other interests which the reasonable reader might feel has affected your research you may also wish to declare them.*Please note that it is not expected that details of financial arrangements be disclosed when a competing interest is declared.
In your Journal Publishing Contributor Agreement you will be asked to certify that:
Please refer to the Manuscript Submission Guidelines on the journals page to check the policy of the journal in which you are submitting or publishing to ensure you comply with any specific requirements needed.
The same obligations equally apply to editors or guest editors writing an editorial that will be published in the journal.
If you are submitting to or publishing your article in a journal which requires you to make a Declaration of Conflicting Interests, please include such a declaration at the end of your manuscript after any Acknowledgements and prior to the Funding Acknowledgement, Notes (if relevant) and References, under the heading 'Declaration of Conflicting Interest'. If no conflict exists, please state that:
'The Author(s) declare(s) that there is no conflict of interest'.*Please note, a Conflict of Interest Statement will not appear in journals that do not require a declaration of conflicting interests. Where a declaration is required the disclosure information must be specific and include any financial relationship that all authors of the article has with any sponsoring organization and the for-profit interests the organization represents, and with any for-profit product discussed or implied in the text of the article.
You may find the following useful resources to refer to for more information on Conflict of Interest policies, existing codes of practices and more general good practice in relation to journal publication ethics:
View the Guidelines published on good publication and the Code of Conduct by The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).
View the guidelines published by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE).
View a Common Standard for Conflict of Interest Disclosure published by Center for Science in the Public Interest.
When reporting experiments on people, authors should indicate whether the procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national), or if no formal ethics committee is available, with the Helsinki Declaration as revised in 2013. If doubt exists whether the research was conducted in accordance with the Helsinki Declaration , the authors must explain the rationale for their approach and demonstrate that the institutional review body explicitly approved the doubtful aspects of the study.
Patients have a right to privacy that should not be violated without informed consent. Identifying information, including names, initials, or hospital numbers, should not be published in written descriptions, photographs, or pedigrees unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and the patient (or parent or guardian) gives written informed consent for publication. Informed consent for this purpose requires that an identifiable patient be shown the manuscript to be published. Authors should disclose to these patients whether any potential identifiable material might be available via the Internet as well as in print after publication. Patient consent should be written and archived with the journal, the authors, or both, as dictated by local regulations or laws. Applicable laws vary from locale to locale, and journals should establish their own policies with legal guidance. Since a journal that archives the consent will be aware of patient identity, some journals may decide that patient confidentiality is better guarded by having the author archive the consent and instead providing the journal with a written statement that attests that they have received and archived written patient consent.
Nonessential identifying details should be omitted. Informed consent should be obtained if there is any doubt that anonymity can be maintained. For example, masking the eye region in photographs of patients is inadequate protection of anonymity. If identifying characteristics are de-identified, authors should provide assurance, and editors should so note, that such changes do not distort scientific meaning.
The requirement for informed consent should be included in the journal’s instructions for authors. When informed consent has been obtained, it should be indicated in the published article.
When reporting experiments on animals, authors should indicate whether institutional and national standards for the care and use of laboratory animals were followed. Further guidance on animal research ethics is available from the International Association of Veterinary Editors’ Consensus Author Guidelines on Animal Ethics and Welfare .
Patients and research participants have a right to privacy that should not be infringed without informed consent. Identifying information, including patients' names, initials, or hospital numbers, should not be published in written descriptions, photographs, and pedigrees unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and the patient (or parent or guardian) gives written informed consent for publication. Informed consent for this purpose requires that a patient who is identifiable be shown the manuscript to be published. Authors should identify Individuals who provide writing assistance and disclose the funding source for this assistance.
Identifying details should be omitted if they are not essential. Complete anonymity is difficult to achieve, however, and informed consent should be obtained if there is any doubt. For example, masking the eye region in photographs of patients is inadequate protection of anonymity. If identifying characteristics are altered to protect anonymity, such as in genetic pedigrees, authors should provide assurance that alterations do not distort scientific meaning and editors should so note.
An informed consent for publication form is available in the respective journal websites that involve research among human subjects.
Further information should be shared with the journal editors through Discover Publishing Ltd - Editor’s Resources Booklet.