Conflicts of interest (COIs) are of concern in research, and new regulations are in place to address financial COIs. Although not inherently wrong, a COI increases the risk of bias in research. The goal of the new regulation is to increase transparency to improve the public’s trust in the research process. When a conflict is identified, it should be disclosed to the researcher’s university, and if needed, a management plan is crafted to reduce the potential for bias.
Management plans can include limiting a researcher’s involvement in aspects of the research, disclosing this information to potential subjects, and reporting conflicts in presentations and publications. Addressing COI through education, disclosure, and management can protect investigators and all those involved in research and increase the integrity of the research process.