The UMJ Publishing requires authors to declare all competing interests in relation to their work. All submitted manuscripts must include a ‘competing interests’ section at the end of the manuscript listing all competing interests (financial and non-financial). Where authors have no competing interests, the statement should read “The author(s) declare(s) that they have no competing interests”. The Editor may ask for further information relating to competing interests.
There are several areas where you may encounter a conflict of interest.
Competing interests may be financial or non-financial. A competing interest exists when the authors’ interpretation of data or presentation of information may be influenced by or may be perceived to be influenced by, their personal or financial relationship with other people or organizations. Authors should disclose any financial competing interests but also any non-financial competing interests that may cause them embarrassment if they were to become public after the publication of the manuscript.
A conflict of interest may not invalidate a manuscript or a decision, but it should be declared so that suitable action can be taken. Authors are required to declare any conflict of interest when they submit their manuscript. This allows the Editors and reviewers to make an informed judgment of the work. The conflict should also be published with the article so that readers can also make informed judgments of the reporting.
Reviewers are required to declare a conflict of interest when they are asked to review an article – the Editor can then judge whether they are suitable to review the article or not. When the Editor has a possible conflict of interest, then the evaluation procedure (peer review and publishing decision) must be undertaken in a way that avoids biased decisions. Remember that whilst you may honestly feel that you have made a fair decision, your readership (and authors) must feel confident that your processes for all submissions are fair and balanced.
Editorial board members are encouraged to submit to their journal, but you must have systems in place to ensure that they are not involved in the decision-making process for their own article. It is very important that Editors should not handle their own manuscript through the peer review process
Non-financial competing interests include political, personal, religious, ideological, academic, and intellectual competing interests. If, after reading these guidelines, you are unsure whether you have a competing interest, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org