The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) journals introduced a disclosure form (Nov. 5, 2009 NEJM) that has been adopted by all journals that are members of the ICMJE. The JEMH supports the use of this disclosure form and encourages authors making submissions to the JEMH to complete it. The form is not mandatory and is unnecessary if an author claims to have absolutely nothing to disclose. The form, posted on the ICMJE Web site (www.icmje.org/coi_disclosure.pdf) includes instructions to help authors provide the information, and a sample completed form is also available (www.icmje.org/sample_disclosure.pdf). Authors can download the form from the Internet, add the requested information, and save the completed form on their computer. The completed form can then be e-mailed along with your JEMH submission.
Competing Interests/Conflicts of Interest:
We understand that authors make submissions in good faith and with the best of intentions. Nonetheless, the Editorial Committee recognizes the wisdom of proactively addressing the issues of competing interests and conflicts of interest.
Financial interests (specifically, ties to industry through employment, equity or stock ownership, honoraria, research grants, etc.) are the most obvious sources of potential conflict. Furthermore, that potential exists when the financial interests are held, at a minimum, by the individual or his or her spouse, committed partner, or dependent children. Conflicts can also arise from non-financial sources such as competing editorial responsibilities, academic or professional competition and affiliations, and personal relationships.
- Possible competing interests include, but are not limited to:
- Any of the following financial relationships with entities that provide health care products or services and which exceed $1000 Canadian per year:
- Stock holdings or equity
- Compensation for consulting, speaking engagements, or other services
- All forms of research support (including support from commercial entities, foundations, and government agencies)
- Positions of influence in companies that provide health care products or services
- Publication-level editorial obligation (i.e., primary decision-making roles) on research journals
- Leadership positions in professional societies
- Any of the above relationships on the part of an editor's spouse, committed partner, or dependent child which might pose a conflic
All editors, editorial board members, senior advisors, peer reviewers, and contributing authors who have any concerns about possible competing interests within the past year must declare these to the Managing Editor, along with any known potentially competing commitments for the next year. They should also be prepared to provide any additional details requested by the Managing Editor, who may then take action to limit a person’s involvement with the JEMH as appropriate. Disclosure will be held in confidence by the Managing Editor and will only be made available in strictest confidence to the Editorial Committee when, in the judgment of the Managing Editor, an issue has arisen that merits Committee review.
- JEMH Editorial Committee members, Editorial Board members, and Senior Advisors must declare any possible competing interests or conflicts of interest; these will be published on the JEMH website.
An Editorial Committee or Board member, or a Senior Advisor, may not make final editorial decisions about a submission if he or she is an author of the article. For all other situations, management of editors' potential conflicts within the day-to-day editorial operations of the JEMH is based on the principle of recusal. Whenever a Committee or Board member, or Senior Advisor, has a potential conflict (e.g., a financial conflict based on the relationships outlined in section 1 above, or any other personal or professional relationship such as being a member of the same department as a submitting author, or in any way standing to gain from the article), he/she must advise the Managing Editor of the nature of the conflict(s) and offer to recuse him/herself from a review or making final editorial decisions about an article.
- Definition of reportable conflicts
Conflict must be acknowledged in the following circumstances:
- Total or substantial support of the research has been provided by a concern with a vested interest in the results (e.g., the manufacturer of a study drug or device, an advocacy or lobby group).
- Author(s) are employed by the pharmaceutical or device manufacturer or agency whose product or position is under study.
- Author(s) have some other potential conflict that is relevant to the findings (e.g., holding a patent, compensation for promoting a drug or position, equity interest in a company, paid as consultants or authors for the study by a company or vested interest group) More limited degrees of support (e.g., donation of a drug, equipment, diagnostic tool, etc.) should also be acknowledged if the donated material is evaluated in the study and the outcome favors the manufacturer
The decision whether to publicly report other forms of potential conflict (e.g., public or foundation funding) is left to the judgment of the author and the Managing Editor.
- Terminology for reporting conflicts
The precise wording for how a conflict is reported varies widely depending on the nature and scope of the particular conflict(s). Examples of appropriate wording include:
- "In this controlled, double-blind, manufacturer-sponsored study …"
- "This study was done by researchers from [company, agency] …"
- "This work was partially (or wholly) supported by [maker of drug or device, name of vested interest group]…"
- "Supported by [name of government agency or academic/industry consortium]"
Care should be taken that the wording does not cast an unfairly pejorative light on the body of work.
- Guidelines on placement of conflict-of-interest information
Conflicts that are judged to be significant and noteworthy should be reported factually in the “Competing Interests / Conflicts of Interest” section. If the author believes that the conflict casts doubt on the study's validity or conclusion(s), the conflict should also be noted in the body of the article.
(Note: This conflict of interest policy has been adapted from the Journal Watch policy.)