Onco’Zine requires that all authors report their potential conflicts of interest (COI)* when submitting manuscripts/articles for publication. The primary reason for this requirement is that the failures to disclose potential conflicts of interest has become front page news, and, in many cases, a major embarrassment to the author(s), publishers, editors, and professional societies.
One example is the case of renowned breast cancer researcher Jose Baselga, MD, PhD, following revelations of his failure to disclose millions of dollars in payments from industry which was reported in a series of articles written by reporters from the New York Times and ProPublica, a nonprofit investigative journalism organization.
The articles detailed a culture of self-serving standards that personally benefited a privileged few at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, where Baselga served as physician-in-chief, until he resigned a week following publication of the first article in September 2018.
Written by ProPublica senior editor Charles Ornstein, and Times staffer Katie Thomas, the articles reported on Baselga’s practice of not disclosing his financial interests in numerous peer-reviewed journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet, and Cancer Discovery, where Baselga still serves as one of two editors-in-chief.
How to avoid conflicts
The publishers of Onco’Zine require a complete conflicts of interest (COI) disclosure. However, if an author or authors have no financial conflicts of interest to declair, a simple statement can be included in the manuscript/article like “There are no financial conflicts of interest to disclose.”
This requirement is simple and is based on the accepted convention. It is also clear and transparent.
However, before making such a declaration, we ask authors to be absolutely sure that there is no (financial) relationship* which might be viewed as a potential conflict of interest. We ask authors to ensuring that:
- Any kind of financial support (funding, grants, sponsorship) received is properly acknowledged.
- Any commercial or financial relationship that might have the potential of being viewed as a conflict of interest has been disclosed in the cover letter.
- There are no signed agreements with the sponsor that will bias the results a study or research presented in an article submitted to Onco’Zine
- Any kind of non-financial bias is included in a Conflict of Conflict disclosure
When submitting a study or research article, the publishers of Onco’Zine accept a written disclosure (with cover letter) listing all potential conflicts of interest. Alternatively, the publishers also accept the disclosure form (with a cover letter) developed by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, which is designed to disclosure potential conflicts of interest.
For more information, contact the editors.
 Rosenthal ET. How Meaningful Will Changes Be to Ethical Guidelines Following Jose Baselga’s Fall. Onco’Zine. October 9, 2018. [Article]
Last Editorial Review: November 1, 2018
*Conflicts of interest (COI) generally refers to financial relationships, but can also involve personal, professional, ideological, political or religious views, which are sometimes referred to as competing interests. The publishers of Onco’Zine also consider unpaid work or voluntary service as a potential conflict of interest. Hence, disclosure of a conflict of interest should include anything that may result in a bias, including, but not limited to financial and non-financial relationships.
Featured Image: Conflict of Interest. Courtesy: 2018 © Fotolia. Used with permission.
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