Conflicts of interest (COIs, also known as ‘competing interests’) occur when issues outside research could be reasonably perceived to affect the neutrality or objectivity of the work or its assessment. Potential conflicts of interest must be declared—whether or not they actually had an influence – to allow informed decisions. In most cases, this declaration will not stop work from being published nor will it always prevent someone from being involved in a review process.
Materials with undeclared conflicts that appear later can be rejected. For more information on COIs, see the guidance from the ICMJE.