Conflicts of Interests and Commitments

Researchers are often faced with competing demands on time, effort and responsibilities. A conflict of interests occurs when a researcher has to contend with two or more competing concerns, such as honestly reporting research results versus making a profit, achieving publication or retaining outside funding. A conflict of commitments occurs when a researcher engages in competing obligations, such as collaboration on another project, preparing a new grant application, teaching or peer review.

Conflicts of interests or commitments are not inherently negative; rather, the way in which the conflict is handled makes the difference. Researchers are encouraged to be honest about any interest that may cause potential conflicts and to inform others so that a disinterested entity can monitor progress to verify continued researcher objectivity. Researchers should also schedule their time judiciously and accept additional responsibilities only when they are certain that they will be able to honor all commitments.