Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/20/1999
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Conflict of interest or bias in the research review and publication process represent situations in which personal benefit (either direct or indirect via an individuals research program or institution) takes priority over clarity and accuracy of reporting research. Although the review and publication process may not be completely void of these situations, if conflict of interest and(or) bias are at a degree that detracts from the objective review or evaluation of scientific results then they represent an ethics issue and must be kept out of the review and publication process. These issues can be real or perceived, can occur at all levels of the review and publication process, and can be associated with either the author or those working within the review and publication process. There are important guidelines and policies that should be a part of the review and publication process to help minimize conflict of interest and bias situations, and, when these situations are identified, they should be dealt with immediately and factually to protect the integrity of the process and the scientific journal involved.
Technical Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to discuss the importance of recognizing conflict of interest and(or) bias situations in the peer review and publication process of research papers and to identify some important guidelines and(or) policies that help to minimize these situations. Communication of thought, ideas, and information is the basis of how we function as a society. Communicating research results requires communicating clearly and accurately all aspects of the research process as well as the appropriate interpretation of results. A working definition for conflict of interest or bias with regard to publishing research results is that conflict of interest is a situation in which personal benefit (either direct or indirect) takes priority over clarity and(or) accuracy of reporting research. These situations are ethics issues and can be either real or perceived. It is true that the review and publication process is not perfect; thus, some bias is probably always present and can be brought to the review and publication process by either the author or those responsible for the process. However, conflict of interest or bias that detract from the objective evaluation of research or the integrity of a scientific journal is inappropriate. Conflict of interest and(or) bias situations can occur a all levels of the review and publication process and should be dealt with on a factual basis. This article describes several situations as examples and several important guidelines that help minimize the occurrence of conflict of interest and(or) bias.