In the interests of transparency and to help readers form their own judgements of potential bias, HOST requires authors and PC members to declare any competing financial and/or non-financial interests in relation to the work described.
For the purposes of this policy, competing interests are defined as financial and non-financial interests that could directly undermine, or be perceived to undermine the objectivity, integrity and value of a publication, through a potential influence on the judgements and actions of authors with regard to objective data presentation, analysis and interpretation.
Financial competing interests include any of the following:
Funding: Research support (including salaries, equipment, supplies, and other expenses) by organizations that may gain or lose financially through this publication. A specific role for the funder in the conceptualization, design, data collection, analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript, should be disclosed.
Employment: Recent (while engaged in the research project), present or anticipated employment by any organization that may gain or lose financially through this publication.
Personal financial interests: Ownership or contractual interest in stocks or shares of companies that may gain or lose financially through publication; consultation fees or other forms of remuneration (including reimbursements for attending symposia) from organizations that may gain or lose financially; patents or patent applications (awarded or pending) filed by the authors or their institutions whose value may be affected by publication. For patents and patent applications, disclosure of the following information is requested: patent applicant (whether author or institution), name of inventor(s), application number, status of application, specific aspect of manuscript covered in patent application.
It is difficult to specify a threshold at which a financial interest become significant, but note that many US universities require faculty members to disclose interests exceeding $10,000 or 5% equity in a company. Any such figure is necessarily arbitrary, so we offer as one possible practical alternative guideline: "Any undeclared competing financial interests that could embarrass you were they to become publicly known after your work was published."
We do not consider diversified mutual funds or investment trusts to constitute a competing financial interest. Also, for employees in non-executive or leadership positions, we do not consider financial interest related to stocks or shares in their company to constitute a competing financial interest, as long as they are publishing under their company affiliation.
Non-financial competing interests:
Non-financial competing interests can take different forms, including personal or professional relations with organizations and individuals. We would encourage authors and PC members to declare any unpaid roles or relationships that might have a bearing on the publication process. Examples of non-financial competing interests include (but are not limited to):