Conflict of Interest Policy for Editors of Obesity
Version of Record online: 6 SEP 2012
2009 North American Association for the Study of Obesity (NAASO)
Volume 17, Issue 9, page 1655, September 2009
How to Cite
Bergman, R. N., Ader, M. and Must, A. (2009), Conflict of Interest Policy for Editors of Obesity. Obesity, 17: 1655. doi: 10.1038/oby.2009.215
- Issue online: 6 SEP 2012
- Version of Record online: 6 SEP 2012
Integrity in the publication process requires impartiality at all levels of review. Obesity adheres to the policy of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, “Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals: Writing and Editing for Biomedical Publication” (1). We have, with their permission, borrowed heavily from the statement of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2) and benefited considerably from the thinking of their editorial board; we thank them for their generosity. Our policy details the ethical considerations relevant to ensuring impartiality. Consistent with this policy, Obesity's author guidelines require authors to disclose “any advisory board affiliations with and/or financial or personal interests in any organization sponsoring the research at the time the research was done.” Consistent with the policy, Obesity expects reviewers to recuse themselves from refereeing manuscripts when a significant conflict of interest exists at either the financial or the 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.
Obesity editors will declare, on the journal's Web site (http:www.obesity.org), all relationships from which they (or their spouse or dependent children) receive either assets or supplemental income of more than $1,000 per annum outside of compensation related to his or her full-time, permanent employment. In this context, a “relationship” is defined as (i) ownership of equity in any public or private company in the agriculture, food, nutrition, or pharmaceutical industries, excluding holdings in mutual funds, (ii) participation in any industry-related activity, agreement, or arrangement that results in a financial payment of transfer of assets to the editor exceeding actual expenses for travel and participation, and/or (iii) actual or in-kind research support for the editor's research activities. The initial Web site declaration for each editor will appear in the fall of 2009 and will include all potential conflicts that exist at that time as well as those for the prior 12 months. The Web site declaration will be updated yearly to include the potential conflicts that have occurred in the intervening year. The initial conflict of interest declaration for a new editor will be published on the Web site when the editor assumes his or her duties and will be updated annually.
Editors will recuse themselves from being responsible for manuscripts submitted by associates (former students, fellows, mentors, and collaborators) with whom they have worked in the previous 5 years and by faculty members at their own institutions. Manuscripts submitted to Obesity by one of the editors will be handled by another editor. The journal's electronic submission and review software allows an Associate Editor to deny a conflicted editor access to relevant information concerning manuscripts submitted by associates or by the individual editor. In addition, a conflicted editor will be barred from participating in any discussion among the editors pertaining to such manuscripts.
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 editors who are not affected by the conflict. The affected editor must agree to abide by the decision of his or her colleagues in this instance. Finally, we acknowledge that conflict of interest policies are evolving, and both Obesity and The Obesity Society are continually reviewing and revising their overall conflict of interest policies. The Obesity editors' conflict of interest policy represents an initial step toward keeping obesity research free of conflicts of interest to the fullest extent possible.
None of the authors had any personal or financial conflicts of interest relevant to the conflict of interest policy expressed in this Editorial.
- 1International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals: Writing and Editing for Biomedical Publication <http:www.icmje.org> (February 2006). Accessed 8 May 2007.