Public health journals need to have clear policies for reporting the funding of studies and authors’ personal financial and non-financial conflicts of interest (COI) disclosures. This study aims to assess the policies of public health journals on reporting of study funding and the disclosure of authors’ COIs.
This is a cross-sectional study of “Public, Environmental & Occupational Health” journals. Teams of two researchers abstracted data in duplicate and independently using REDCap software.
Of 173 public health journals, 155 (90%) had a policy for reporting study funding information. Out of these, a majority did not require reporting of the phase of the study for which funding was received (88%), nor the types of funding sources (87%). Of the 173 journals, 163 (94%) had a policy requiring disclosure of authors’ COI. However, the majority of these journals did not require financial conflicts of interest disclosures relating to institutions (75%) nor to the author’s family members (90%) while 56% required the disclosure of at least one form of non-financial COI.
The policies of the majority of public health journals do not require the reporting of important details such as the role of the funder, and non-financial COI. Journals and publishers should consider revising their editorial policies to ensure complete and transparent reporting of funding and COI.