We are pleased to announce that from this issue we will be publishing the Statement on Conflict of Interest for Authors for all article types of Biochemia Medica in printed as well as in electronic form of the Journal. This way we wish to provide our readers the opportunity to unambiguously judge the quality and reliability of the data presentation and potential competing interests that could have biased the presentation of the authors’ ideas and their research.
It was almost one year ago, when we introduced this question as required item during the submission of the manuscripts (1). When submitting their manuscripts authors are asked the question whether or not has any source that could have an interest in the contents of the article, had a financial contribution regarding authors, materials or equipment or institution in general? If the answer was yes, authors were asked to declare their competing interests. However, until now, this information was not provided to our readership.
Why did we decide to change this practice? Because we believe that scientific journals have an ultimate responsibility to provide unbiased scientific articles to its readership. We also believe that if any potential source of bias exists, it is the responsibility of the journal to disclose this information, since it may influence the judging the manuscript by editors, reviewers and readers.
Conflict of interest exists when an author, reviewer or editor has financial or personal relationships that inappropriately influence (bias) his or her actions (2, 3). It should be considered as any interest that may introduce some bias in the data presentation.
Following are some examples of authors’ conflict of interest that need to be disclosed to the Journal editors:
1. Manufacturer of reagents discussed in the manuscript have supported the research.
2. Author receives a consultation fee or any other kind of honoraria from a manufacturer of reagents discussed in his/her manuscript.
3. The author has received a travel support from a company (manufacturer) whose products (reagents) are discussed in the manuscript.
4. An author submits his/her research which is sponsored by a company with a financial interest in the results of the study.
5. The author has a financial investment in the company supporting his research.
6. The author has invented a patent whose financial value could be affected by the outcome of the research.
Such disclosures are aimed not to ban authors from submitting their research to the journal, but rather to provide readers with information upon which they may unambiguously judge the quality and reliability of the presented work.
As we move forward, we will continue giving a careful consideration to the issues related to competing interests for authors, editors and reviewers. We will aim to develop a clear guidance and recommendations regarding the way competing interests are to be recognized and handled by editors at Biochemia Medica.
Biochemia Medica is committed to promote the trustworthy science and become one of the leading journals in the field. Scientific publications may have a great impact on the healthcare decision makers, physicians and their everyday practices. We therefore need to become aware of any potential source of bias that might cause some deviation of the results from the truth. Journal has recently recognized the importance of the some of the above discussed issues by publishing a special issue dealing with the responsible writing in science (4).
I wish to conclude by quoting Ana Marusic, the Editor-in-Chief of Croatian Medical Journal, who claimed that journal editors are gatekeepers of responsible science (5). Indeed, one can only agree. This task is difficult, but rewarding. We hope that readers of Biochemia Medica will appreciate our efforts to increase the transparency of our editorial work.
When submitting your work in the future, please make sure that you have carefully considered and disclosed all potential sources of competing interests that might have influenced your work. This way we will together build a better future for the evidence based scientific research.
Potential conflict of interest
1. Simundic AM, Topic E, Cvoriscec D. Biochemia Medica launches a new web page and an online manuscript submission system. Biochem Med 2010;20:125.
3. Katavic V. Responsible conduct of research: Do we need training in fraud-science? Biochemia Medica 2010;20:288-94
4. Bilic-Zulle L. Responsible writing in science. Biochemia Medica 2010;20:279-81.
5. Marusic A. Editors as gatekeepers of responsible science. Biochem Med 2010;20:282-7.