OBaS – Conflict of interest

In this episode Ponter discusses the role of funders in research. He also mentions possible bias and conflicts of interest.

The ALLEA code addresses this by listing the following as unacceptable practices:

“Allowing funders/sponsors to jeopardise independence in the research process or reporting of results so as to introduce or promulgate bias”.

Note that this both addresses the actual design of the research as well as the reporting/phrasing of the results.

To protect the integrity of research, researchers increasingly have to declare possible conflicts of interest in their articles.

How does conflict of interest relate to the four principles? 

Suppose a company funds your research, but your findings are bad for the company. Should you publish these results or not? And does possible harm for the public change that decision? 

More on conflicts of interest can be found in the lesson Conflict of Interest.