All authors, referees and editors must declare any conflicting or competing interests relating to a given article.
Competing interests are defined as those that, through their potential influence on behaviour or content or from perception of such potential influences, could undermine the objectivity, integrity or perceived value of publication.
They may include:
- Employment – recent, current and anticipated by any organisation that may gain or lose financially through publication
- Sources of funding – research support by any organisation that may gain or lose financially through publication
- Personal financial interests – stocks and shares in companies that may gain or lose financially through publication; consultation fees or other forms of remuneration from organisations that may gain or lose financially; patents or patent applications whose value may be affected by publication
- Membership of relevant organisations
- Having a personal relationship with any of the authors (if you are an editor or referee) or an editor, including a guest editor of a theme issue or special feature (if you are an author)
- Working or having recently worked in the same institution or department as any of the authors (if you are an editor or referee)
- Having recently (eg in the past 3 years) been a supervisor, mentor, mentee, close collaborator or joint grant holder with any of the authors.
All manuscripts must include a competing interests section.
Referees are asked to declare their competing interests when returning their report on a paper.
If an editor has a competing or conflicting interest preventing them from making an unbiased decision on a manuscript then the editorial office will send the manuscript to an alternative editor for assessment.