From the design of the research protocol to assessing benefits and risks during the informed consent process to analyzing and reporting the findings for publication, researchers must strive for objectivity. When outside agencies, such as funding sources, or personal biases impair or perceive to impair objectivity, a conflict of interest (COI) exists. COI is broadly defined as any behavior that results in personal or financial gain. Ultimately, a COI has the potential to influence professional judgment, threatening the integrity of the research process. Moreover, COI potentially taints the reputation of the researcher, institution, discipline, and scientific community as a whole. As such, avoiding, recognizing, and/or managing COI is critically important.
All potential conflicts of interest, either by federal law and/or institutional regulations, must ...
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