All authors should disclose in their manuscript any financial or other substantive conflict of interest that might be important with regards to interpretation or influence of results or that of the manuscript. All sources of financial support for the project should be disclosed.
'Conflicts of interest occur when authors, reviewers, or editors have hidden interests that may influence their decisions on what is published.' They've been described as "those that, if discovered later, would lead a reasonable reader to believe he or she has been mislead or duped."
To ensure that there are no conflicts during the review process:
When submitting a paper, all authors and co-authors must state any potential conflicts of interest (e.g. employment, consulting fees, research contracts, stock ownership, patent licenses, advisory affiliations, etc.). This information should be provided in the end section if the article is accepted for publication.
If an editor has a conflict of interest (financial or otherwise) for a submitted article, they should not make editorial decisions or participate in the editorial process.
In such cases, an editor may have a conflict of interest if a manuscript is submitted from their own academic department or institution; they should have explicit policies in place to manage it.
The editorial team will ensure that appropriate reviewers from outside the institute are selected for a fair review of the submitted manuscript in such cases. The editor may ask a member of the editorial team or a guest editor to process the manuscript in such cases.
When editors submit their own work to a journal, the manuscript should be managed by a colleague in the editorial office, and the editor/author should refrain from discussing or making decisions about it.
If the work involves chemicals, procedures or equipment that have any unusual hazards inherent in their use, the author must clearly identify these in the manuscript.
All study must have been conducted in accordance with established ethical guidelines. Animal and human ethical committees should be consulted before any animal or clinical studies are conducted, and research should be conducted in such a way that animals are not harmed unnecessarily. All clinical trials need necessitate registration.
Patients have a right to privacy, which must not be breached without informed consent. Identifying information, such as names, initials, hospital numbers, should not be included in written descriptions. Images or pedigrees should not be included unless it is necessary for scientific purposes and the patient (or parent or guardian) has given written informed consent. In order to obtain informed consent for this purpose, an identifiable patient must be shown the paper that will be published. After publication, authors should inform these patients whether any potentially identifiable material will be available on the Internet as well as in print.
As stipulated by local legislation or laws, patient consent should be written and archived with the authors and the authors should be able to provided consent statement as and when asked by the journal. Identifying details that aren't absolutely necessary should be left out. If there is any concern about maintaining anonymity, informed consent should be acquired.If identifying traits are changed to maintain anonymity, such as in genetic pedigrees, authors should ensure that the changes do not impair scientific meaning, and editors should highlight this. It should be stated in the published paper when informed consent has been received.