I know some journals require authors to declare conflicts of interests as a matter of policy; even if there is no CoI, a section title Conflict of Interests is still included which declares that there were no conflicts.

However, I notice that for some journals this is not the case. For example, this paper in the Journal of Organic Chemistry does not appear to have a CoI section.

Is declaration of conflicts of interest considered optional for scholarly publications? Is it possible to ascertain whether CoIs exist for a paper like this, where nothing is indicated?

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    I see the sentence "The authors declare no competing financial interest." at the end of that paper. Do you not see that? The publisher's guidelines say, "During manuscript submission, ACS journal authors are required to disclose the nature of any competing and/or relevant financial interest... If no conflict of interest is declared, the following statement will be published in the article: "The authors declare no competing financial interest."" – ff524 Jul 13 '15 at 18:42
  • @ff524 Ah, yes, I must've missed it. I had tried searching for "conflict" but I guess I should have tried "interest" as well. – Superbest Jul 14 '15 at 1:10

I'm fairly confident that most scholarly journals require that you disclose conflicts of interest. If the publisher or journal doesn't discretely mention it, it wouldn't hurt to include it in the manuscript anyway.

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    This is very much field dependent. I'm not aware of any mathematics or computer science journal that requires authors to disclose conflicts of interest. (On the other hand, prospective referees are expected to disclose any conflicts of interest when invited by the editor.) – JeffE Jul 13 '15 at 19:58

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