The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) defines conflicts of interest as “those which may not be fully apparent and may influence the judgment of authors, reviewers and editors”. A conflict of interest can be described as “those which, when revealed later, would make a reasonable reader feel misled or deceived”. Conflicts of interest can be personal, commercial, political, academic or financial. Such interests must be declared by authors, reviewers and editors. In case of uncertainty, rather disclose.
Authors’ conflicts of interest
Authors are asked during the submission process to declare any potential conflicts of interest for the Editor-in-Chief’s consideration. Examples include employment, funding sources, owning of shares and payment for lectures or travel.
Should a potential conflict of interest exist, it must be declared and will be included in the published version if the article is accepted for publication. A potential conflict of interest does not necessarily mean the submission will be rejected.
Reviewers’ conflicts of interest
Reviewers are asked to declare any potential conflicts of interest in the manuscript review form. Examples include submissions by family members or students and discerning the identity of the authors. A conflict of interest does not necessarily invalidate the review report.
Editors’ conflicts of interest
The same policy for authors’ conflicts of interest applies when editors are the authors of editorials, non-reviewed front section articles and manuscripts for peer review. In addition, with regard to the submission of manuscripts for peer review, the manuscript management system automatically precludes an editor from accessing the manuscript information of manuscripts for which they have been identified as an author.
With regard to assigning reviewers and making a decision on a manuscript, an editor will withdraw as editor for that manuscript if there is a conflict of interest, such as in the case of a submission by a family member or student.
Editorial Advisory Board members
Members of the Editorial Advisory Board are permitted to publish in the Journal. Submissions received from Board members are treated in the same manner as other submissions with respect to blind reviewing and confidentiality.