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In selecting or appointing an author, reviewer or staff member (hereinafter “representatives”), or in selecting an article for publication, the journal or COS carefully considers any potential conflict of interest.

The decision on whether there is a conflict of interest and whether this conflict should be disclosed, as well as whether it is appropriate to take part in procedures that could be affected by the conflict of interest, is usually left to an individual. In some cases, the conflict of interest may significantly influence the interests of the journal or COS.

If a representative has a conflict of interest and does not disclose it, the editorial board must consult COS about it and decide whether there is a conflict of interest or not, following which it may take one or more of the following steps:

  • decide there is no conflict of interest
  • decide that the disclosure of a conflict of interest by the representative is sufficient and no further measures are needed;
  • ask the representative:
  • to abandon the position or relationship resulting in the conflict of interest so that they can take part in related matters;
  • to abstain from discussions and actions on the matters that are affected by the conflict of interest, and not to vote about the matter. In such a case the conflict of interest must be published in the journal and accompanied with an explanation;
  • not to take part in discussions and actions on the matters affected by the conflict of interest;
  • within the scope specified in statutes and regulations of the journal, deny the representative access to all information, including written documents, and oral and written reports on the matters related to the conflict of interest.
  • decide that the conflict of interest is so extensive that it cannot be avoided. In such a case, the article cannot be published.      

In accordance with this procedure, all authors, reviewers, representatives and staff must sign a conflict of interest statement every year and update it in case of any changes. The editorial board decision can be appealed, and the matter is investigated. The subsequent decision adopted by the editorial board is final.

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