The ICMJE guidelines state that a conflict of interest exists when professional judgment concerning a primary interest (such as patients' welfare or the validity of research) may be influenced by a secondary interest (such as financial gain). Anything that could be perceived as a conflict of interest should be declared. Some examples are: financial relationships (such as employment, consultancies, stock ownership or options, honoraria, patents, and paid expert testimony), personal relationships or rivalries, academic competition, and intellectual beliefs.
Authors: As an integral part of the online submission process, the author who submits the article is required to declare the conflict of interest of all authors. It is the responsibility of the submitting author to obtain relevant information before starting the submission process. In addition, all manuscripts should include a mandatory conflict of interest statement in the manuscript. If there are no conflicts of interest then the author should enter “The authors declare no potential conflicts of interest with respect to research, authorship and/or publication of this article". If a previously undisclosed competing interest for an author of a published article is brought to the attention of the publisher, and is subsequently confirmed with the authors, the undeclared interest will be published as an erratum in a future issue.
Reviewers: Before accepting the invitation to review a paper, potential reviewers are required to disclose any conflict of interest.
Submission by an editor or editorial board member: No special consideration will be given to an article submitted by an author who is also an editorial board member. The process of selection of reviewers, and the review process will be similar to that of an author who is not an editorial board member.