I have recently come across this paper in Nature Communications: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-17419-7
From the authors’ affiliations and corresponding email it seems like all authors are employees of Babylon (a health technology company) but the authors state in the “Competing interests” section that “The authors declare no competing interests.” even though they are evaluating their own product and give themselves an outstandingly good evaluation.
The journals “competing interests” policy states: “Funding Research support to the author or their institution (including salaries, equipment, supplies and other expenses) by organizations that may gain or lose financially through this publication. A specific role for the funder in the conceptualization, design, data collection, analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript, should be disclosed. Employment Recent (while engaged in the research project), present or anticipated employment by any organization that may gain or lose financially through this publication.” https://www.nature.com/documents/nr-competing-interests.pdf
I wonder how it is academically legal to still state “The authors declare no competing interests.”? Is this not the mother of all competing interests? Especially in a respected journal like Nature Communications?
I found this here:
"Editors should consider retracting a publication if:
The author(s) failed to disclose a major competing interest (a.k.a. conflict of interest) that, in the view of the editor, would have unduly affected interpretations of the work or recommendations by editors and peer reviewers."
Should I contact the editor? Is this really a reason to retract this paper?