Conflict of interest (COI) describes a situation in which the impartiality of research may be compromised by the researcher standing to profit in some way from conclusions drawn in the research. This can be a conflict among roles as when a researcher takes on too many outside consulting duties and neglects mentoring students, or misses classroom teaching, or a conflict of trust when the ability to make money from offering a particular interpretation of findings distorts trust in the analysis or conclusions reached. COI can occur at individual, institutional, or industry level or in a particular case, at several of these levels at once. Conflicts can arise from financial, ideological, political, religious beliefs, or personal relationships. Transparency through the disclosure of financial COIs has been the main management technique for handling COI. But it is suboptimal because it provides no way to know for sure whether competing interests have compromised the research (Dunn et al. 2016). There is no detailed federal policy in the USA on identifying or managing institutional conflicts of interest. A survey by Resnik (2016) found that only 38% of top grant getting institutions had such policies.
KeywordsConflict of interest Research agenda capture Institutional conflict of interest
- Elliott C. Institutional pathology and the death of Dan Markingson. Account Res. 2016. Epub ahead of print.Google Scholar
Additional Suggested Reading
- Dunn A, Colera E, Mandl K, Bourgeois F. Conflict of interest disclosure in biomedical research: a review of current practices, biases, and the role of public registries in improving transparency. Res Integr Peer Rev. 2016;1:1. (A public registry of competing interests is needed in order to have a comprehensive view of COI.)Google Scholar
- Yanagawa H. Current regulatory systems for clinical trials in Japan: Still room for improvement. Clin Res Regul Aff. 2014;31(2–4):23–28. (Describes how a country develops its research regulatory system including management of COI.)Google Scholar