ASTRO Enforces Stricter Conflict of Interest Verification

ASTRO is embracing heightened transparency in conflict of interest reporting for both their journals and the submission and presentation of scientific abstracts at meetings.

Journals

ASTRO journals have initiated a new co-author and conflict of interest verification process for all authors. As of January 22, 2019, all co-authors of ASTRO journal articles will receive an email asking them to confirm authorship and verify that all conflicts relevant to their papers – including information listed on Open Payments -- have been disclosed. Below, we answer common questions, but please feel welcome to contact the journals department with additional questions and comments!

I am submitting a paper. What does this mean for me?

When you submit a paper to one of ASTRO’s three journals, you will be asked to certify that all your relevant conflicts have been declared on both your conflict of interest disclosure form (the journals use the ICMJE form) and on the article’s title page.

You will be required to enter a valid email address for each of your co-authors. All co-authors will then receive an email asking them to verify their authorship and disclosure of conflicts. Please note that all co-authors should have a copy of the submitted article and title page!

I am a co-author. What do I need to do?

As a co-author, you will receive an email asking you to verify co-authorship and certify that you have declared all relevant conflicts. Please check your spam folder if you know an article you co-authored has been submitted but you have not received an email. If you experience any technical difficulties, do not hesitate to contact the journals department.

What questions will I need to answer?

The questions are:

  1. Is your institution located in the United States? [Yes/No]
  2. For authors with institutions in the United States:
    • Please confirm that all relevant conflicts are reported in your COI disclosure form and on the manuscript’s title page; and that as a U.S. author you have reviewed your conflict of interest disclosure against Open Payments. Note that all financial and personal relationships that might influence or be seen to influence the content of this paper must be reported.

    • Select one:
      [ ] I attest that the relevant conflicts or appearances of conflict have been disclosed in my form and on the manuscript’s title page; and that I have reviewed my conflict of interest disclosure against Open Payments.

    • [ ] My conflict of interest disclosure is incomplete or there are conflicts that are not listed on the manuscript’s title page. I understand it is my responsibility to contact the journals department to resolve this issue.
  3. For authors whose institutions are located outside the United States:
    • Please confirm that you have reported or will report all disclosures relevant to this article. Note that all financial and personal relationships that might influence or be seen to influence the content of this paper must be reported on a disclosure form and on the article title page.

    • Select one:
      [ ] I attest that I have reviewed my conflict of interest disclosure and that all relevant conflicts or appearances of conflict have been disclosed in my form and on the manuscript’s title page.

    • [ ] My conflict of interest disclosure is incomplete or there are conflicts that are not listed on the submission title page. I understand it is my responsibility to contact the journals department to resolve this issue.

When I click “yes” to verify my co-authorship, I’m taken to a log in page. I’m not sure if I have an account.

Click “send login details” under the green ORCiD logo and enter your email address. If you have an account, login information will be sent to you. If the system does not recognize you, please register for an account. Note that after you create an account, you must click the verification link in your email again. Co-author confirmation only works through email links; you will not see a pending task in the submission system.

I’m not sure if all my conflicts have been declared/I would like to disclose conflicts I forgot to include.

Please contact the corresponding author and copy journals@astro.org. Be sure to reference the paper and journal.

Submission and Presentation of Scientific Abstracts

As an accredited provider of continuing medical education, ASTRO adheres to the policies and standards set forth by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME). As such, abstract authors have always been required to disclose relationships with commercial interests. Beginning December 2018, ASTRO implemented stricter procedures to ensure that relevant conflicts of interest are disclosed by the authors who submit abstracts for the ASTRO meetings and all co-authors. The following language was added to the abstract submission site for the Annual Meeting.

“It is the responsibility of the submitting author to ensure that all author and co-author disclosures are up-to-date and accurate. ALL relationships with a commercial entity should be disclosed for all authors. It is important that all financial and personal relationships that might influence, or be seen to influence, the content of this paper are reported.

All authors should review their conflict of interest disclosures at www.astro.org, as well as those publicly available on the Open Payments site to ensure that the disclosures they submit to ASTRO are complete.” 

Disclosure statements for authors of abstracts accepted for oral presentations are available on the ASTRO website for all to view. In addition, authors of abstracts accepted for oral presentation must include a slide at the beginning of their presentation that discloses conflicts. This slide will remain on the screen for seven seconds.

If you have any questions about the disclosure policy and procedures for submitting abstracts for an ASTRO meeting please contact the education department.

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