Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Nature to Seek Disclosure of Conflicts of Interest from Authors

NEW YORK, Aug. 23 – The journal Nature said on Thursday that it will institute a new policy asking authors to disclose any financial conflicts of interest relevant to the research they submitted for publication. 

Beginning on Oct. 1, the journal's eight distinct titles will ask contributors to declare any "significant" sources of funding, current or anticipated employers, or personal or professional financial interests--including consulting fees and ownership in company stock--that may affect the research.

In an editorial in the Aug. 23 issue of journal, editor Philip Campbell described "significant" financial interest as “any undeclared competing financial interests that could embarrass you were they to become publicly known after your work was published.”

Currently, Nature gives authors the option of disclosing their sources of funding. The new policy falls in line with similar practices at other peer-reviewed basic-science journals, including Science , which makes it a condition of publication for authors to disclose funding sources and financial conflicts of interests. However, Science does not publish as a matter of policy any personal financial interests an author may have.

But Nature 's new policy will provide this information, which the journal said will allow its readers to judge for themselves whether a conflict of interest exists. Authors, for their part, may opt not to disclose details of their financial interests, but a statement accompanying the published article will reflect that decision.

In the 1980s, medical journals such as The New England Journal of Medicine began instituting policies requiring authors to disclose financial conflicts of interests, which industry watchers saw as acknowledgement of encroaching commercial interest in biomedical research.

The current policy at The New England Journal of Medicine gives editors discretion to decide whether to disclose the information to readers.

The Scan

Researchers Compare WGS, Exome Sequencing-Based Mendelian Disease Diagnosis

Investigators find a diagnostic edge for whole-genome sequencing, while highlighting the cost advantages and improving diagnostic rate of exome sequencing in EJHG.

Researchers Retrace Key Mutations in Reassorted H1N1 Swine Flu Virus With Avian-Like Features

Mutations in the acidic polymerase-coding gene boost the pathogenicity and transmissibility of Eurasian avian-like H1N1 swine influenza viruses, a PNAS paper finds.

Genome Sequences Reveal Evolutionary History of South America's Canids

An analysis in PNAS of South American canid species' genomes offers a look at their evolutionary history, as well as their relationships and adaptations.

Lung Cancer Response to Checkpoint Inhibitors Reflected in Circulating Tumor DNA

In non-small cell lung cancer patients, researchers find in JCO Precision Oncology that survival benefits after immune checkpoint blockade coincide with a dip in ctDNA levels.