Editor Conflicts of Interest
Editors who make final decisions about manuscripts should recuse themselves from editorial decisions if they have conflicts of interest or relationships that pose potential conflicts related to articles under consideration. One challenge for editors is to recognize the potential for conflicts of interest and to take appropriate action when biases are likely. The types of conflict of interests are as follow:
Editors should avoid making decisions on manuscripts submitted from their own institution, or by research collaborators, or co-authors, or competitors. To avoid the possibility of bias, editors should recuse themselves if they have published with, have collaborated with, or have been in a mentoring relationship with any author or contributor of the manuscript within the past three years.
The most apparent type of conflict of financial interest occurs when an editor or affiliated organization may benefit financially from a decision to publish or to reject a manuscript. Financial conflicts may include salary, grants from a company with an interest in the results, honoraria, stock or equity interests in a company whose product is discussed in the article, and intellectual property rights (patents, royalties, and copyrights).
Other nonfinancial conflicts of interest should also be avoided or disclosed. Editorial decisions should be based on an objective and impartial consideration of the facts, exclusive of personal or professional bias. All decisions by editors should be based solely on the paper’s scientific merit, originality, and quality of writing as well as on the relevance to the journal’s scope and mission, without regard to race, ethnic origin, sex, religion, or citizenship of the authors. Editors must disclose personal biases that may affect their editorial decisions.
Even if prospective reviewers feel confident that the existence of one or more of these potential conflicts of interest would not intrude upon their objectivity, they should protect the credibility of the review process by avoiding even the appearance of a conflict of interest and decline to review the manuscript. A reviewer should not take scientific, financial, personal, or other advantages of material available through the privileged communication of peer review, and every effort should be made to avoid even the appearance of taking advantage of information obtained through the review process.