We are committed to transparent and bias-free research. To ensure that all publications are as open as possible all authors, reviewers and editors are required to declare any interests that could appear to compromise, conflict or influence the validity of the publication. This process is designed to reinforce the readers' trust in the research data.
Please declare any competing interests that you have. A conflict of interest must be declared if there is any reason why the information or the interpretation of information being produced may be influenced by a personal or financial relationship with other organisations or individuals, or if these relationships could be reasonably perceived from other people as having influencing objective data or decision-making. Everyone involved in the submission, editorial processing, peer review and publication should declare any competing interests that they may have as early as possible.
Competing interests can take the form of both financial and non-financial relationships. The declaration of such relationships helps to ensure that academic rigour is maintained and that publications cannot be accused of undue bias or misinformation.
Examples of competing interests:
Competing interests should generally be declared to cover at least the previous 5 years - e.g., if a reviewer supervised the author's PhD then (and if they feel comfortable reviewing the work) their professional relationship should have ended over 5 years ago. This is a minimum requirement, and individuals must declare if they have had a previous relationship with someone/an organisation relevant to the submission that could be deemed to influence decision making.
Note that a declaration of a competing interest is not implicitly a negative judgement, but a positive effort to increase transparency and reduce bias (positive or negative) within the publication process.
Please place the competing interests section at the end of the manuscript, immediately before the reference list. The authors’ initials should be used to denote differing competing interests. For example:
“TW completed paid consultancy work from [company name] as part of the data acquisition for this study. BH has minority shares in [company name], which part funded the research grant for this project. SM is a member of the editorial board for [journal name], which is on a voluntary basis. All other authors have no competing interests."
If there are no competing interests, please add the below statement:
"'The author has no competing interests to declare" for papers with a single author or "The authors have no competing interests to declare” when multiple authors are contributing.
*Should an author submit a paper to a journal for which they are an editor they must a) remove themselves completely from the editorial process and b) add a competing interest statement to any resulting publication mentioning this link For example:
“TW is an editor for journal X and was removed from all editorial discussions relating to the processing of this paper.”
If you have any competing interests, please list them in the text box available on your reviewer page. For example:
"I was previously employed by the laboratory that collected this data."
If you do not have competing interests, please add the below statement:
"I have no competing interests to declare."