This COPE discussion document introduces issues around competing interests/conflicts of interest and describes practical issues which might occur when handling cases. COPE welcomes comments which add to the ongoing debate.
Competing interests (also known as conflicts of interests - COIs) may arise during research, writing, and publication processes, and can be briefly defined as being any influential factor which interfere with the objective integrity of research publication. The guidance clarifies best practices around implementing policies to manage COIs, provides examples of competing interests that should lead to a correction of a paper, and describes ten practical issues which might occur when handling a competing interest case.
- Wikipedia defines a conflict of interest (COI) as a situation in which a person or organisation is involved in multiple interests, financial interest, or otherwise, one of which could possibly corrupt the motivation of the individual or organisation.
- PLoS defines COI as anything that interferes with, or could reasonably be perceived as interfering with, the full and objective presentation, peer review, editorial decision-making, or publication of research or non-research articles submitted to a journal.
- The principles of conflicts of interest are shared by many journals and publishers, but their policies to address them vary.
- Examples of COIs: payment to authors; close relationship with an author or editor; patent applications for a device that is the subject of the research.
- Editors should have policies and systems for managing their own conflicts of interest as well as those of their staff, authors, reviewers and editorial board members.
- Correcting a publication record to clarify a conflict of interest should be regarded as a positive step towards transparency and integrity.
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COPE welcomes feedback from publishers, journal editors, reviewers, researchers, institutions, librarians, funders, and other stakeholders on this subject. Add your feedback below.
About this resource
Written by COPE Council
Version 1 January 2016
How to cite this
COPE Council. COPE Discussion Document: Handling competing interests. July 2016. https://doi.org/10.24318/ElTeSLhp
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