For an upcoming publication, the corresponding author has forwarded me the copyright release and conflict of interest disclosure form.

On this form is a table to be completed regarding "Did you or your institution at any time receive payment or support in kind for any aspect of the submitted work", with rows for grants, consulting, support for travel, and so forth.

One of the columns is a multiple-choice question "Is the relationship current (C), ongoing(O), or past (P)?"

It's pretty clear what it means for a relationship to be 'past', but what is the difference between 'current' and 'ongoing'? Is 'current' a relationship that existed at the time of the work, and 'ongoing' a relationship that exists at the time of submission for publication?

The additional guidance in the instructions for this table is quite unhelpful, as it gives external instructions to consult for every other column but this one.

Note: Items 1, 2, and 3 listed below come from the ICMJE Uniform Disclosure Form for Potential Conflicts of Interest at http://www.icmje.org/update.html (dated July 2010), except for the columns in numbers 1 and 2 that ask whether the relationship is current, ongoing, or past.

  • 1
    I think you may have to ask the editor or publisher. I have no idea either; they seem to me like synonyms. Aug 11, 2014 at 23:17

1 Answer 1


You'd have to check with the journal to be certain, but based on what I have seen in other places, I would guess that the difference is whether the relationship causing the conflict of interest is open-ended or not. Thus, for example:

  • DrugCo is a major sponsor of a conference, which Prof. X is chairing this year. This would be "current" because the relationship is expected to end when Prof. X finishes as conference chair.
  • DrugCo retains Prof. X as a consultant to assist with patent actions. This would be "ongoing" because the relationship could persist indefinitely.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .