"International Journal of Herbal Medicine" requires all authors and reviewers to declare any conflicts of interest that may be inherent in their submissions. Conflict of interest for a given manuscript exists when a participant in the peer review and publication process – author, reviewer, or editor – has ties to activities that could inappropriately influence his or her judgment, whether or not judgment is in fact affected. Financial relationships with industry, for example, through employment, consultancies, stock ownership, honoraria, expert testimony, either directly or through immediate family, are usually considered to be the most important conflicts of interest.
However, conflicts can occur for other reasons, such as personal relationships, academic competition, and intellectual passion. Public trust in the peer review process and the credibility of published articles depend in part on how well conflict of interest is handled during writing, peer review, and editorial decision making. Bias can often be identified and eliminated by careful attention to the scientific methods and conclusions of the work. Financial relationships and their effects are less easily detected than other conflicts of interest. Participants in peer review and publication should disclose their conflicting interests, and the information should be made available so that others can judge their effects for themselves.
When they submit a manuscript, whether an article or a letter, authors are responsible for recognizing and disclosing financial and other conflicts of interest that might bias their work. They should acknowledge in the manuscript all financial support for the work and other financial or personal connections to the work.
External peer reviewers should disclose to editors any conflicts of interest that could bias their opinions of the manuscript, and they should disqualify themselves from reviewing specific manuscripts if they believe it appropriate. The editors must be made aware of reviewers’ conflicts of interest to interpret the reviews and judge for themselves whether the reviewer should be disqualified. Reviewers should not use knowledge of the work, before its publication, to further their own interests.