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.
Helen W. Lach, PhD, RN, GCNS-BC, is Associate Professor at the School of Nursing, Saint Louis University, Missouri.
Accepted for publication February 10, 2014.
The author would like to acknowledge the support and help of the research administration and compliance staff who worked diligently to develop an efficient conflict of interest system as well as the faculty members who have served on the conflict of interest committee.
The author has no conflicts of interest to report.
Corresponding author: Helen W. Lach, PhD, RN, GCNS-BC, School of Nursing, Saint Louis University, 3525 Caroline St., Room 222, St. Louis, MO 63104 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).