Policy: Conflict of Interest for Editors and Reviewers

Purpose:

To describe the policy and practice for management of editor and reviewer conflicts of interest involving Annals of Emergency Medicine (Annals).

Policy:

Annals believes that all editorial board members, consulting editors and reviewers acting on behalf of Annals have a fiduciary duty to Annals. A conflict of interest may occur when an editorial board member or reviewer has personal or outside financial, business, professional interests or other responsibilities that conflict with their duties to Annals, including decisions and reviews of manuscripts submitted to Annals. Editorial board members and reviewers are required to declare to Annals any actual or potential conflicts of interest.

Practice:

1. Definitions

a. Conflict of Interest: Any situation or transaction in which a person has a direct or indirect interest such that he/she may realize a personal benefit from the situation or transaction. This includes decisions to publish or not publish a manuscript.

b. Financial conflict of interest includes more than nominal compensation from an entity that has a financial interest or stake in the subject of a publication or other activity of Annals. Nominal in value means no more than twenty-five dollars ($25.00). Direct interest includes ownership by you or a member of your immediate family, or an investment in a concept, product or another party developing those concepts or products. Indirect interests involve consulting or accepting any type of compensation for work involving the concept or product or any company involved in the concept or product. Indirect interest also includes receipt of external funding or grants from either commercial or governmental or nonprofit funding agencies, such as NIH and others.

c. Non-financial conflict of interest includes personal (friendship, family members, co-workers, political, religious), and intellectual (competing research, fiduciary responsibilities) interests that would make a reasonable reader, author, reviewer or editor feel misled or deceived if not disclosed. These include friendship with an author, interest in competing organizations, competing research interests, or political beliefs or religious beliefs that could be perceived by a reasonable reader of Annals to interfere with your objectivity.

2. Procedures:

a. Annually, members of the editorial board will provide information regarding their potential conflicts of interest. This will include at a minimum financial conflicts of interest as defined above.

b. Reviewers assessing a manuscript for Annals will answer the following questions regarding that manuscript:
i. Indicate whether there are financial competing interests, either direct or indirect.
ii. Indicate whether there are personal competing interests.
iii. Indicate whether there are intellectual or fiduciary conflicts.

c. Evaluation
i. Each real or potential conflict of interest of a reviewer will be evaluated by the decision editor for the manuscript involved, assuming the decision editor does not have a conflict of interest.
ii. The decision editor may decide this potential conflict does not eliminate the value of the reviewer's opinion, and proceed, or choose another reviewer. This decision will be reported to Annals staff for record keeping.
iii. Each decision editor is expected to notify a deputy editor or the editor in chief if they have any potential conflict on a manuscript they are supervising.
iv. Each real or potential conflict of interest of a decision editor will be evaluated by the editor in chief or his designate, and their decision reported to Annals staff for record keeping.

d. Actions
i. Whenever a real or potential conflict of interest is declared, the evaluator will provide in writing a decision regarding the conflict.
ii. If a direct financial interest has been declared, the individual will typically be recused from participation in the refereeing of the manuscript involved.
iii. Lesser conflicts involving reviewers will be resolved at the discretion of the supervising editor. Conflicts involving a decision editor will be resolved by a deputy editor or the editor in chief.
iv. When the manuscript is published, the name of the decision editor will be published at the end of the article.
v. Permanent records will be kept of all potential conflicts of interest and the decisions as to how to handle them.

e. Complaints
A complaint regarding potential conflict of interest of a reviewer will be referred to the decision editor of that paper, who will review the circumstances and send a written assessment of the merits of the complaint to the editor in chief.

A complaint regarding potential conflict of interest of an editor will be referred to the supervising deputy editor, who will review the circumstances and send a written assessment of the merits of the complaint to the editor in chief. The editor in chief will make a final decision on management of the conflict and a written summary will be sent sent to Annals staff for record keeping.



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