Covert Conflict of Interest in a Scholarly Article is Discovered
ACTIONS TO BE UNDERTAKEN WHEN AN UNCERTAIN, COVERT CONFLICT OF INTEREST IN A SCHOLARLY ARTICLE IS DISCOVERED
As soon as a peer evaluator detects a cryptic conflict of interest inside a scholarly manuscript during the assessment phase, they should promptly alert the editorial figurehead.
Following that, the editor should:
Convey their appreciation to the evaluator and solicit supplementary substantiation or data, if feasible.
Reach out to the author(s) to discuss the concealed conflict of interest, underlining its magnitude.
From here, two potential scenarios may unfold:
The author(s) concedes the conflict and divulges essential details:
The editor ought to express gratitude toward the author(s) and expound on the significance of revealing conflicts of interest.
Integrate the suitable conflict of interest proclamation within the manuscript.
Progress with the residual evaluation and publication procedures.
Update the peer evaluator on the current status.
The author(s) disputes or abstains from offering the necessary data:
The editor must consult the publication's guidelines on conflicts of interest and request that the author(s) provide a written conflict of interest declaration.
If the author(s) fails to supply the requisite statement or the quandary endures, the editor might contemplate additional measures, such as postponing the assessment process, dismissing the manuscript, or involving the author(s)' institution in a more in-depth investigation.