1. Salcido, Richard "Sal MD"

Article Content

THE SPECIALTY OF SKIN AND WOUND CARE is relatively small and the relationships-financial and otherwise-among industry, researchers, clinicians, and academicians are becoming more blurred. At the same time, society is demanding more transparency in these business transactions.


The peer-review process helps to maintain the integrity of Advances in Skin & Wound Care and the manuscripts we publish by highlighting the possibility of any real or perceived conflict of interest. Some examples of potential conflict include receiving a grant from industry to conduct a study, participating in a study as an employee of the company sponsoring the research, holding stock in a company sponsoring research or a patent or license on the product being studied, or receiving financial support from industry for being a consultant or serving on an advisory board or speakers' bureau. 1,2


As part of the publication process, the editorial staff further clarifies these relationships and properly discloses them in print. This allows readers to evaluate for themselves whether any relationships biased the authors' perspective.


However, the editors, editorial advisors, and peer reviewers of this journal are not investigators 3; we are dependent on cooperation from all interested parties to do what we need to do. Without this cooperation, the journal-indeed, any journal-is at risk.


Checks and Balances

Recent circumstances in the peer-review process demonstrated the need for us at the journal to reexamine these issues. Our job as editors is to provide certain checks and balances to ensure that authors disclose any real or perceived conflicts from a financial perspective. To do so, we need full acknowledgment of these relationships from contributing authors. Our ability to disclose potential conflicts for readers to evaluate is dependent on the memory and truthtelling of our busy authors.


Suppose, for example, that an author signs an author's agreement stating that he or she has no conflict of interest. A peer reviewer recognizes the research and notifies the journal that the research was sponsored and a potential conflict exists. Or, suppose an author challenges the journal's peer-review process and insists that a rejected manuscript be sent for another round of reviews. Before the second reviews are completed, an editor discovers that the author is a paid consultant for the subject device, which was not disclosed.


Now, suppose that neither potential conflict was caught. Both manuscripts are ultimately published, at which point astute readers recognize and report the conflicts to the editors. This may call into question the integrity not only of the authors, but also of the journal and everything published within its pages.


Disclosure: Standard Practice

These examples make it apparent that full disclosure is an essential part of publication. It is considered the standard practice and the main procedure for identifying and managing conflicts of interest for manuscripts submitted to biomedical journals. In this regard, Advances in Skin & Wound Care follows the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals, as developed by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. 2


According to the Uniform Requirements, authors are asked to "acknowledge in the manuscript all financial support for their work. For industry support for specific projects, authors are asked to describe the sponsor's role in the design, analysis, and reporting of the study data. If there has been no such involvement, the manuscript is expected to explicitly state this fact."2


As a matter of journal policy, Advances in Skin & Wound Care will not initiate the peer-review process for any manuscript that is not accompanied by 2 documents: a copyright transfer form and a disclosure form. Authors who do not include these forms will be asked to submit them before the manuscript is peer reviewed, which can delay progress toward publication. Both forms can be found on the journal's Web site,, under Author Guidelines.


Requiring disclosure of potential conflicts of interest is not meant to punish authors who receive support from industry or to punish industry for supporting research. Rather, the disclosure process is necessary to ensure that the research we conduct and report in the literature can have a positive impact on patient care, free of the taint of bias.




1. Gross GP, Gupta AR, Krumholz HM. Disclosure of financial competing interests in randomized controlled trials: cross sectional review. Brit Med J 2003; 326( 7388):526-7. [Context Link]


2. Uniform requirements for manuscripts submitted to biomedical journals: International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. Ann Intern Med 1997; 126:3647. [Context Link]


3. Salcido R. Authorship: an occasioned source of wounds. Adv Skin Wound Care 2002; 15:198-9. [Context Link]