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, the journal requires a formal declaration of conflicting interests enabling a statement to be carried within the paginated published article.

A potential conflict of interest may arise from relationships, allegiances, or hostilities to particular groups, organizations, or interests, which may influence one’s judgments or actions excessively. The issue is particularly sensitive when such interests are private and/or may result in personal gain.

All manuscripts submitted to the journal are evaluated fairly and are not necessarily rejected when any competing interests are declared. 

Examples of conflicts of interest might include the following, although it is not an exhaustive list:

  • Having received fees for consulting.
  • Having received research funding.
  • Having been employed by a related company.
  • Holding stocks or shares in a company that might be affected by the publication of your paper.
  • Having received funds reimbursing you for attending related symposia, or talk.

If there are other interests that the reasonable reader might feel have 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.)

Conflict of interests

Upon identification of any conflict of interest, the editors may require more information from the author that may include the following:

  1. Acknowledgment of financial support/sponsorship in their contribution.
  2. Any commercial or financial involvements that might present an appearance of a conflict of interest related to the contribution are disclosed in a covering letter accompanying the contribution and all such potential conflicts of interest will be discussed with the editor as to whether disclosure of this information with the published contribution is to be made in the journal.
  3. If they have signed an agreement with any sponsor of the research reported in the contribution that prevents you from publishing both positive and negative results or that forbids you from publishing this research without prior approval of the sponsor.
  4. If they have checked the manuscript submission guidelines to ensure whether the journal requires a Declaration of Conflicting Interests and have complied with the requirements specified where such a policy exists.

Authors are required to fill and sign the Copyright and Author Consent Form upon submitting the manuscript.

Editor obligations regarding conflicting interests

The same obligations equally apply to the editors or guest editors writing an editorial for the journal. When you are submitting or publishing your article in a journal that 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 have 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.