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When writing a scientific paper, one of the important sections to fill in are the possible conflicts of interest. Typically, I get to write

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Now, however, one of my co-authors has moved to a for-profit company before the study has been published. I am arguing whether it constitutes a conflict of interest.

What is a conflict of interest, by minimum?

  • Was the for-profit involved in your research, and is the topic that for-profit works on related to your research? Typically, conflicts of interest involve fiscal gain, i.e. you are testing the drug and also have stocks in the drug company. – Compass Jun 29 '15 at 17:26
  • No, the company was not involved in the research. However, it does operate in the same field. The co-author in question stopped actively working on the project when switching jobs, though is giving feedback on the final version before submission, just like the usual process goes. – mmh Jun 29 '15 at 17:31
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Such a section usually isn't required for papers in my field, but you should probably put something like "Joe Smith moved from The University of Bobtown to ACME, Inc. during the preparation of this manuscript."

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A publication that is examining the effects of a drug (let's say, Drug A) on inflammation that is funded by a private company trying to sell Drug A. This would be an example of a conflict of interest to be disclosed. This, of course, doesn't necessarily mean that there is misconduct occurring.

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