It is important that the Editor, reviewers and future readers are fully aware of any potential competing interests that you and your co-authors may have in relation to the work presented in your manuscript. Editors and reviewers are also required to declare any competing interests and will be excluded from the peer review process if a competing interest exists.
Declaring a competing interest does not mean that your manuscript will not be published. It will help the editor assess your work and invite reviewers who do not have the same competing interest. Editors may ask you for further information relating to competing interests.
What is a competing interest?
A competing interest exists when the authors’ interpretation of data or presentation of information may be influenced by their personal or financial relationship with other people or organizations. Authors should disclose any financial competing interests but also any non-financial competing interests that may cause them embarrassment if they were to become public after the publication of the article.
Authors from pharmaceutical companies, or other commercial organizations that sponsor clinical trials, should declare these as competing interests on submission. They should also adhere to the Good Publication Practice guidelines for pharmaceutical companies, which are designed to ensure that publications are produced in a responsible and ethical manner. The guidelines also apply to any companies or individuals that work on industry-sponsored publications, such as freelance writers, contract research organizations and communications companies.
Financial competing interests
Financial competing interests include (but are not limited to):
- Receiving reimbursements, fees, funding, or salary from an organization that may in any way gain or lose financially from the publication of the article, either now or in the future.
- Holding stocks or shares in an organization that may in any way gain or lose financially from the publication of the article, either now or in the future.
- Holding, or currently applying for, patents relating to the content of the manuscript.
- Receiving reimbursements, fees, funding, or salary from an organization that holds or has applied for patents relating to the content of the manuscript.
Non-financial competing interests
Non-financial competing interests include (but are not limited to) political, personal, religious, ideological, academic, and intellectual competing interests.
Undisclosed competing interests
If you don’t disclose all competing interests on submission, they may be later identified by the editor, reviewers or readers. It may delay peer review process of your manuscript or even lead to rejection. If an undisclosed competing interest is identified after publication it may be necessary to issue an Erratum to your article or even to retract it from the journal.