This paper presents a common standard for conflict of interest disclosure. The common standard was drafted by the authors, following consultation with a multi-disciplinary group of journal editors, publishers, bioethicists and other academics. It is presented here for the benefit of authors, editorial managers, journal editors and peer reviewers to stimulate discussion and to provide guidance to authors in reporting real, apparent and potential conflicts of interest. It is particularly relevant to addiction specialty journals because of the potential conflicts of interest associated with funding from the alcohol, tobacco, pharmaceutical and gambling industries. Following an appropriate period of vetting the common standard within the scientific community, it is recommended that journal editors adopt journal policies and reporting procedures that are consistent across journals.