Many journals are published by universities and research institutions. For example, Oxford University, Johns Hopkins University, Cambridge University, and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory all have their own journals.

Since having reviewers from the same institution is often considered a conflict of interest (SE answer), is publishing in a journal that is published by your research institute also considered a conflict of interest, since the editor is often from the same institution? Is it considered any different from publishing elsewhere?

Additionally, are there any guidelines by universities or their respective publishing boards that touch on these issues?

  • Considered by who?
    – Ian_Fin
    Sep 26, 2016 at 14:06
  • 2
    @Ian_Fin By other researchers? In general from what I understand, what is and what is not conflict of interest is more or less a community consensus thing.
    – March Ho
    Sep 26, 2016 at 14:07
  • In response to your edit, it's worth pointing out that the editors of journals aren't necessary faculty at the university whose name is used as the publisher. For example, the first Cambridge journal listed on the page you listed, Acta Neuropsychiatrica, is edited by someone working in Denmark, not at the University of Cambridge
    – Ian_Fin
    Sep 26, 2016 at 15:05
  • @Ian_Fin Thanks for the comment, I edited the question to clarify.
    – March Ho
    Sep 26, 2016 at 15:06
  • 1
    I don't know those listed, but several research institutes publish their journals (internationally cited) exactly for the purpose of spreading their activities. One notable example is the Journal of Research of NIST. Sep 26, 2016 at 16:09

1 Answer 1


In academics, conflicts of interest are generally thought of as conflicts that involve monetary issues. The fact that a publication may contribute to an author getting a promotion or tenure is not considered a conflict of interest. That said, if the university owns a stake in the idea being published, there could be monetary benefits to both the university and author. Authors, however, need to disclose their conflicts of interest, and it this case, they would be expected to mention that the parent company of the publisher also has a conflict of interest.

In these cases, as in all cases, it would be left to the reader to decide how to interpret the results and conclusions. It is worth noting that most editors (regardless of if they are at the same university as the university owned publisher) have a fair amount of autonomy from the publisher and if forced to publish something they disagree with, would likely leave in a vocal manner. Similarly, peer reviewers provide another independent form of input (although they can obviously be overruled).

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