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Author & Reviewer Resource Center

Conflicts of Interest

[Version 2 March 2016]

The following policy is mandatory for Biomedical Optics Express; however authors, reviewers and editors for other OSA Journals may voluntarily comply with the guidelines. Implementation of this policy for Biomedical Optics Express will be evaluated in the summer of 2017. If approved by OSA's Board of Editors, the policy may then be extended to all OSA Journals.

Conflicts of Interest Policy (PDF)

Conflicts of Interest

Awareness and proper management of potential conflicts of interest for authors, reviewers and editors is essential to OSA’s mission to disseminate and archive optics and photonics knowledge. OSA defines a conflict of interest as arising from any relationship authors, reviewers or editors have which interferes with, or could reasonably be perceived as interfering with, the full and objective presentation, peer review, editorial decision-making, or publication of a manuscript. Conflicts of interest can be financial or non-financial, professional or personal, and can arise in relation to an organization or an individual. Biomedical Optics Express requires full disclosure by authors of all conflicts of interest relevant to a submitted manuscript, which is integral to the transparent reporting of research.

Sources of funding for reported research, as well as relevant commercial relationships of authors represent special categories of potential financial conflicts of interest for which specific disclosures are expected by the scientific community and the public. For the purposes of publishing in Biomedical Optics Express, a Commercial Relationship is defined as any involvement with a for-profit entity which produces, markets, re-sells, or distributes goods or services, which fits within any of the Commercial Relationships Disclosure Codes listed below. Relevant Commercial Relationships are defined as those that (1) relate to the content of the publication for which disclosure is taking place and (2) occurred or extended within a 12-month period preceding the manuscript submission or the review request. OSA considers financial relationships to create conflicts of interest when individuals have both a financial relationship with a commercial entity and the opportunity to affect published content related to the products or services of that commercial entity. Disclosures should also be made for relevant commercial relationships involving family members.

Obligations of Authors

Appropriate disclosures are made in three distinct sections of a manuscript: Acknowledgements, Funding, and Disclosures. The distinctions between these sections are described below.

  • All sources of funding for the research reported, including direct and indirect financial support, supply of equipment or materials, in-kind support (e.g., optical design/manufacturing) and other support (such as specialist statistical or writing assistance) should be disclosed in the manuscript. Specific sources of government, foundation, or commercial grants or awards, including identifiers if available, should be listed in a separate Funding section for each author. Other sources of relevant research funding may be listed in an Acknowledgments section.
  • All relevant commercial relationships which occurred or extended within a 12-month period preceding submission, and which relate to the content of the manuscript, should be disclosed for any authors who have such relationships. This should be done using the Commercial Relationships Disclosure Codes below, in a separate Disclosures section.
  • Authors should list in the Disclosures section any additional conflicts of interest, financial or non-financial, dealing with the subject matter of the manuscript that editors, reviewers or readers might reasonably expect to know or might otherwise affect the interpretation of the findings.
  • It is the responsibility of the First or Corresponding Author to assure that each Co-author is aware of this Policy and to ensure that all required funding and disclosure information is included for all authors.
  • Authors are expected to submit a Correction if a previously unrecognized conflict of interest is discovered after publication.

Obligations of Editors

  • Editors should disclose to the editor-in-chief any conflicts of interest, financial or non-financial, resulting from direct competitive, collaborative (within the past five years), or other relationships with any of the authors or organizations with interests in the paper, and avoid cases in which such conflicts preclude an objective evaluation. If in doubt, the editor is encouraged to consult with the editor-in-chief regarding the appropriate course of action.
  • If a manuscript competes with the research of an editor such that the editor feels s/he could not handle the paper objectively, or whose handling could be perceived as biased, the editor should decline responsibility for that manuscript. If in doubt, the editor is encouraged to consult with the editor-in-chief regarding the appropriate course of action.
  • Biomedical Optics Express editors should take all disclosed conflicts of interest into account during the review process.
  • Biomedical Optics Express editors should attempt to avoid reviewers who have known conflicts of interest that, in the editors' judgment, could interfere with an unbiased review.
  • Article submissions from editors are managed so that no details of the review process, other than those available to all authors, are accessible to the editor.

Obligations of Reviewers

  • Reviewers should disclose to the editor conflicts of interest, financial or non-financial, resulting from direct competitive, collaborative (within the past five years), or other relationships with any of the authors or organizations with interests in the paper, and avoid cases in which such conflicts preclude an objective evaluation. If in doubt, the reviewer is encouraged to consult with the editor regarding the appropriate course of action.

Commercial Relationships Disclosure Codes

These codes are to be used for Relevant Commercial Relationships, as defined above.

F (Financial Support) Indicates financial support received from a commercial entity in the form of research funding, grants, research materials or in-kind services (e.g., optical design/manufacturing).

I (Personal Financial Interest) Indicates individual ownership of shares or other investment vehicles in a commercial entity other than through a managed fund (e.g., mutual or retirement fund).

E (Employment) Indicates employment (full or part-time) by a commercial entity.

C (Consultant) Indicates engagement as a paid consultant for a commercial entity.

P (Patent) Indicates any involvement with a patent or competing patent, patent application, copyright, or trade secret, whether or not the patent, copyright, etc. is presently licensed or otherwise commercialized.

R (Recipient) Indicates receipt of gifts, honoraria, travel reimbursement, patent royalties, or any other financial compensation valued in any amount from a commercial entity.

S (non-remunerative) Indicates position(s) of influence such as officer, board member, trustee, spokesperson, etc. which are not financially compensated.

Examples of Conflicts of Interest disclosures (Initials represent those of relevant authors):

Acknowledgments. Statistical support was provided by Albert J. Brooks, University of Missouri. Writing assistance was provided by Writing Associates, Inc. Optical Design support was provided by Optics Design, Inc.

Funding. NIH (NINDS) R21NS053684 (ABC, DEF), NSF (CBET) 1-03905 (GHI), XYZ Corporation (all authors).

Disclosures: ABC: 123 Corporation (I,E,P), DEF: 456 Corporation (R,S). GHI: 789 Corporation (C).

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