3.6 Conflicts of interest
3.6.1 Organisations and researchers must recognise that conflicts of interest (i.e. personal or institutional considerations, including but not limited to financial matters) can inappropriately affect research. Conflicts of interest must be identified, declared and addressed in order to avoid poor practice in research or potential misconduct.
3.6.2 When addressing a conflict of interest, it must be decided whether it is of a type and severity that poses a risk of fatally compromising the validity or integrity of the research, in which case researchers and organisations should not proceed with the research, or whether it can be adequately addressed through declarations and/or special safeguards relating to the conduct and reporting of the research.
3.6.3 Organisations should have a clearlywritten and accessible policy for addressing conflicts of interest, including guidance for researchers on how to identify, declare and address conflicts of interest, and should disseminate and explain the policy to researchers. Organisations should ensure that researchers understand the importance of recognising, disclosing and addressing conflicts of interest in the conduct and reporting of research.
3.6.4 Organisations should comply with the requirements of their policy for addressing conflicts of interest, as well as any external requirements relating to conflicts of interest, such as those of funding bodies. Heads of organisations and other senior staff should be aware of potential or actual conflicts of interest at the institutional level and disclose them when they arise so that they can be addressed.
3.6.5 Researchers should comply with their organisation’s policy for addressing conflicts of interest, as well as any external requirements relating to conflicts of interest, such as those of funding bodies. This should include declaring any potential or actual conflicts of interest relating to their research to: their manager or other appropriate person as identified by their organisation; any ethics committee which reviews their research; and when reporting their findings at meetings or in publications. Conflicts of interest should be disclosed as soon as researchers become aware of them.
3.6.6 Researchers should agree to abide by any direction given by their organisation or any relevant ethics committee in relation to a conflict of interest.