More awareness of non-financial competing interests needed

A few weeks ago PLoS Medicine published an editorial on the thorny and confusing issue of non-financial competing interests. As well as highlighting a number of cases relating to non-financial competing interests that have come to COPE, the editorial proposes three actions needed by the research and medical community at large: recognition of the need for full disclosure by all parties; clear development and statement of policies on competing interests, specifically by journals; and more research into the specific issues raised by these competing interests. COPE has a research fund should someone feel inspired by the editorial to propose some research on this topic. And for the record here’s my competing interest disclosure that relates to this piece: I’m the Chief Editor of PLoS Medicine. You can see my other competing interests, along with those of the other PLoS Medicine editors on our website.