conflict of interest
Posted 16 March 2009 - 12:16 PM
Posted 16 March 2009 - 12:23 PM
Generally, it means that the authors of the paper do not have a motive for writing the paper or the results in a manner that would specifically benefit them (usually financially). For example, if Dr. Cheater wrote a paper on the benefits of snake oil for curing skin cancer while, in the meantime, he built a snake oil supply company--that would be a conflict of interest.
Science is simply common sense at its best that is rigidly accurate in observation and merciless to fallacy in logic.
Thomas Henry Huxley
Posted 16 March 2009 - 12:30 PM
It means that the conclusion and results you are reading are not influenced by an external third party.
let say that there is a paper about the effectiveness of a new anti cancer drug. If the researcher is funded by the company that made the drug, a reader may wonder if the results presented in the paper are biased. After all it is in the interest of the researcher to produce results that says the drug works and works very very well. To conduct experiments that only prove the drugs work and not look for any side effects. Since researcher is effectively being paid by the drug company, it is not in the interest of the researcher to say that the drug has terrible side effects. The researcher may also be facing pressure to report only the positive aspects of the drugs and down play the negative side of the drug.
Thus when it is stated "There is no conflict of interest." it means that the researcher is free from any pressure, financial or political and can report what he has has truly observed. The report you are reading is suppose to be free of any bias.