Conflict of Interest Guidelines

Joint Guidelines for Authors, Reviewers, and Editors

The American Society for Nutrition requires Authors, Reviewers, and Editors to disclose possible conflict of interest situations1 (financial or personal interests), real or apparent, that may affect or appear to affect the impartiality and the integrity of the peer review process of its journals, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN), The Journal of Nutrition (JN), and Advances in Nutrition (AN), Current Developments in Nutrition (CDN). A conflict of interest may arise from employment, financial benefit, personal relationships, professional relationships, or other interests (eg, public advocacy). The disclosure of a potential conflict of interest does not necessarily exclude an article from consideration for publication; the goal of disclosure is transparency.

Requirements for Authors

Each Author must disclose all possible conflict of interest situations including, but not limited to:

  1. Having a close relative1 (eg, child, sibling, parent, spouse, or domestic partner) or a professional associate1 with financial interest in the outcome or otherwise having a relationship that might affect judgment or could be seen as doing so by a reasonable person familiar with the relationship;
  2. Serving as an officer, director, member, owner, trustee, or employee of an organization with a financial interest in the outcome or as an expert witness, advisor, consultant, or public advocate (with or without compensation) on behalf of an organization with a financial interest in the outcome;
  3. Receiving support, including grants, contracts or subcontracts, fellowships,consulting agreements, or gifts (eg, chemicals, experimental diets, trips) with a company or organization having a financial interest in the outcome at present, during the time the research was conducted, or over the past 3 years.
  4. Being employed; having rights to patent applications, patents, sales, licensing, or royalty agreements; serving on an advisory board or speakers’ panel; or owning shares in a company or organization that may gain or lose financially.

Requirements for Reviewers and Editors

Reviewers and Editors are bound by the same principles as Authors. In addition, they have a conflict of interest if they have financial or personal interests directly with the author(s) that might affect or appear to affect the impartiality of the review. Conflicts include but are not limited to:

  1. Receiving research grants, contracts or subcontracts, or consulting interests directly with the Author or with other investigators or key personnel1 who are collaborating on the research;
  2. Collaborating (research or financial) or publishing as a co-Author with the Author(s) of the manuscript during the past 3 years;
  3. Serving as an advisor or advisee to the Author(s) on the current manuscript;
  4. Continuing employment (current or during the past 12 months) or negotiations for prospective employment at the institution of the Author(s), could affect or be affected by the peer review outcome.

If a conflict exists, reviewers must decline the review solicitation according to the instructions provided by the journal; editors must recuse themselves from any review responsibilities.

Editors must provide an updated Conflict of Interest statement annually. These disclosures are posted on the AJCN, JNAN, and CDN Editorial Board pages.

Because it is not possible to anticipate every situation, Authors should inform the Editor-in-Chief at the time of manuscript submission of any potential conflict of interest with a potential Reviewer or Editor. Similarly, if an Editor becomes aware of an apparent conflict of interest, he or she will inform the Editor-in-Chief. The Editor-in-Chief will consult with the Associate Editors who are not affected by the conflict, and the affected Editor agrees to abide by their decision.

Requirements for Supplement Guest Editors and Coordinators:

Supplement Guest Editors and supplement coordinators must disclose all financial and personal interests, including those with sponsors of the supplement publication, when submitting a supplement proposal to ASN journals. In addition, supplement coordinators must disclose all compensation from the sponsor for editorial services on manuscripts published in the supplement publication and/or for attending, speaking at, or organizing a meeting or symposium, including reimbursements for travel expenses. These disclosures will be printed in the supplement publication.

1As defined by NIH Conflict of Interest, Confidentiality and Non Disclosure Rules: Information for Reviewers of Grant Applications and R&D Contract Proposals n.pdf, accessed Nov 18, 2008.