The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) has adopted a uniform format for the disclosure of financial associations of authors. To date, different journals have had different reporting requirements, which has led to inconsistencies and confusion regarding potential conflicts of interest. The new form [PDF] is available on the ICMJE web site, as is a sample completed form [PDF].
Editorials announcing this new approach are being published by all journals that are members of the ICMJE. In this editorial, it is stated:
We ask authors to disclose 4 types of information. First, their associations with commercial entities that provided support for the work reported in the submitted manuscript (the time frame for disclosure in this section of the form is the life span of the work being reported). Second, their associations with commercial entities that could be viewed as having an interest in the general area of the submitted manuscript (the time frame for disclosure in this section is the 36 months before submission of the manuscript). Third, any similar financial associations involving their spouse or their children younger than 18 years of age. Fourth, nonfinancial associations that me be relevant to the submitted manuscript.
The ICMJE is also soliciting feedback about the new form until April 10, 2010, and is calling this interval a period of beta testing. The ICMJE will be meeting in late April 2010, and will make any needed changes at that time.