Conflict of Interest Policy

CJEO’s COI policy generally follows those of the ICMJE Recommendations. Conflicts of interest (sometimes referred to as competing interests or dual loyalties) are common, some would say almost inevitable. Conflicts of interest are secondary interests (eg personal, commercial, political, academic or financial) that may influence judgement on a primary decision, in this case what is published. They have been described as those which, when revealed later, would make a reasonable reader feel misled or deceived. Financial interests may include employment, research funding, sponsorship, stock or share ownership, payment for lectures or travel, consultancies, company support for staff commissioning/ funding/sponsoring of any element of the paper, any financial or potential financial benefit, or PR firm involvement.

All authors are requested to complete a conflict of interest form prior to submission of their manuscript online. Conflict of interest is defined as those factors which influence authors, peer-reviewers and editors, including personal, commercial, political, academic or financial interest. Peer reviewers and editors must declare and avoid these conflicts or competing interests during the submission and assessment of manuscripts. For additional guidance please refer to ICMJE’s ‘Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly work in Medical Journals’ and  COPE’s “Responsible research publication: international standards for authors”. CJEO requests authors to provide a financial funding statement and potential conflict of interest disclosure before submission of manuscript.

Financial Funding and Acknowledgements

Authors should also outline the substantial contributions to the preparation of the paper. Acknowledgement should include those who have had supporting roles to the research but who have not been involved directly in the preparation of the paper.

Management of conflicts of interest

CJEO takes the view that any potential conflicts of interest must be recognised and stated. If there is doubt about the existence of a conflict, it is preferable to err on the side of disclosure. Most conflicts of interest can be managed, as per the following procedures; however, there may be occasions when the conflict of interest is so extreme as to make publication impossible.

 

This is not an exhaustive list of potential conflicts, rather an indication of the range of potential conflicts of interest:

  1. Potential Author COIs

Authors are asked to consider conflicts of interest in both the instructions to authors and then to declare in writing on a form.

  • Instructions to authors – includes the following: ‘Authors must declare any competing interests by completing our standard form. Conflict of interests/competing interests can be defined as factors which could influence the judgment of an author, reviewer or editors, and may be personal, commercial, political, academic, or financial in nature. Put simply, they are interests which, if revealed later, would make a reasonable reader feel misled or deceived’.
  • Conflict of interest form – requires authors to disclose any potential conflicts of interest relevant to the publication of the manuscript.
  1. Potential Reviewer COIs

Editors will try to avoid inviting individuals to review who have potential COIs. Editors will also attempt to honor authors’ requests to exclude potential reviewers, provided that the reason for exclusion is a true COI and that rigorous and comprehensive review is possible if these individuals are excluded. At the time they are invited to review, individuals must disclose any COIs that could bias their opinions, and they must disqualify themselves from reviewing when appropriate. If a COI becomes apparent during the review process, the reviewer must contact the journal office and, when appropriate, ask to be recused. The following situations are considered conflicts and should be avoided:

  • Co-authoring publications with at least one of the authors in the past 3 years
  • Being colleagues within the same section/department or similar organisational unit in the past 3 years
  • Supervising/having supervised the doctoral work of the author(s) or being supervised/having been supervised by the author(s)
  • Receiving professional or personal benefit resulting from the review
  • Having a personal relationship (e.g. family, close friend) with the author(s)
  • Having a direct or indirect financial interest in the paper being reviewed

It is not considered a Conflict of Interest if the reviewers have worked together with the authors in a collaborative project (e.g. EU) or if they have co-organized an event.

Editorial Board Member COIs

Articles by Editorial Board members will be treated as usual for that category of article and undergo the same peer review process. In this case another editor would be appointed to manage the peer review process. If no editor can be identified who does not have a conflict of interest then a guest editor may be invited to manage the manuscript. Any guest editor must have a good understanding of the journal.

  1. Potential Editor COIs

Editors will not act as the decision maker in articles with which they feel they have a conflict of interest, such as working with the authors or performing competing research. If the editor has not worked with the author for more than six months, then they may be eligible to edit an article. Some conflicts will be insurmountable for editors, for example personal friendships, which will not have a time expiry. Knowledge of an author or being an acquaintance is not enough on its own to mean that the editor cannot manage the article. Editors should err on the side of not taking articles with which they may have a conflict of interest and discuss with the Editor-in-Chief any concerns about their own conflicts, so a decision can be made about the most suitable editor for the article.

Misconduct Handling Policy

CJEO is aware of the potential impact an allegation of ethical misconduct can have upon a researcher’s career. All allegations of ethical misconduct are taken seriously, and a full investigation will take place.

  • The Editor-in-Chief should always be the first point of contact, and will seek clarification from all affected parties, in accordance with COPE
  • Where the allegation is made against the Editor-in-Chief, this should be sent to the Publisher for further investigation.
  • If CJEO is approached by a third party with an allegation of plagiarism, the Editor-in-Chief will always seek a response from the original author(s) or copyright holder(s) before a recommendation is made.
  • The Editor-in-Chief will adhere to COPE flowcharts, and will not be influenced by other parties. Any decisions made will be formed in an unbiased and objective manner. At all times, the Editor-in-Chief will remain neutral in tone, acting with integrity, and educating where possible.
  • The Publisher is not obliged to discuss individual cases of alleged plagiarism with third parties.
  • The Publisher reserves the right not to proceed with a case if the complainant presents a false name or affiliation, or acts in an inappropriate or threatening manner towards the journals editors and staff.

Please refer to the guidelines  and COPE flowcharts for the processes that the journal follows in cases of alleged plagiarism in submitted or published articles.