Submitted to: The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/1/2007
Publication Date: 7/1/2007
Citation: Bier, D.M., Abrams, S.A., Bowman, B.A., Fukagawa, N.K., Gitlin, J.D., Klurfeld, D.M., Sacks, F.M. 2007. Editorial: Conflict of interest policy for Editors of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 86(1):3-4.
Technical Abstract: Integrity in the publication process requires impartiality at all levels of review. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) adheres to the policy of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals: Writing and Editing for Biomedical Publications. This policy details the ethical considerations relevant to ensuring impartiality. Consistent with this policy, the AJCN's Information for Authors requires authors to disclose "any advisory board affiliations with and financial or personal interests in any organization sponsoring the research at the time the research was done." Similarly consistent with the policy, the AJCN expects reviewers to recuse themselves from refereeing manuscripts in those circumstances in which a significant conflict of interest exists at either the financial or personal level. Furthermore, if a reviewer has knowledge of any relationship that might possibly constitute a conflict of interest when asked to evaluate a manuscript, it is the reviewer's obligation to notify the editors, who will then decide whether to exclude the reviewer in that particular instance. Remarkably, there are few established, explicit conflict of interest policies for journal editors, although such an explicit policy was published recently by the Journal of Clinical Investigation and is discussed further therein. The policy of the ICMJE requires that editors "who make final decisions about manuscripts must have no personal, professional, or financial involvement in any of the issues they might judge." Below, with acknowledgment to the editors of the Journal of Clinical Investigation for providing the framework, we, the new editors of the AJCN, provide our specific implementation of the ICMJE policy as it applies to our stewardship of the AJCN. In addition, the editors realize that it is not possible to define or anticipate every potential conflict. Thus, when new apparent conflicts arise, they will be evaluated individually by the Editor-in-Chief and by those Associate Editors who are not affected by the conflict. The affected editor agrees to abide by the decision of his or her colleagues in this instance. Finally, we should point out that conflict of interest policies are changing rapidly and that both the AJCN and the American Society for Nutrition will be reviewing and revising their overall conflict of interest policies this year. The AJCN Editors' conflict of interest policy represents the first of several steps that are meant to keep nutrition research free of conflict of interest to the fullest extent possible.