Scientific judgment and the limits of conflict-of-interest policies

Account Res. Jan-Mar 2008;15(1):1-29. doi: 10.1080/08989620701783725.


This article argues that the three major elements of typical university conflict-of-interest (COI) policies (i.e., disclosure, management, and elimination of conflicts via divestiture or recusal) are likely to be insufficient for screening out many worrisome influences of financial COIs. Current psychological research challenges the effectiveness of disclosure, management plans are unlikely to address the wide range of ways that financial COIs can influence scientific judgment, and it is often impractical to eliminate conflicts. Identifying the limits of these policies highlights the importance of considering alternative strategies, such as encouraging more independently funded esearch, in order to maintain the integrity of science.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research / ethics*
  • Conflict of Interest*
  • Financial Management
  • Humans
  • Organizational Policy*
  • Research Personnel / psychology*
  • Research Personnel / standards
  • Universities / organization & administration