Conflicts of interest

Martin Marchman Andersen, Jeppe Berggreen Høj, Louise Emma Whiteley, Peter Sandøe

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterEducation


It is widely assumed that scientists should be objective and
ignore personal factors in their scientific conduct (Douglas
2014). However, scientists are human beings and are therefore
also driven by interests other than the advancement of
scientific knowledge – for instance, by the pursuit of honour
and status, wealth, the desire to support their students,
political commitments, morality and other factors. Sometimes
scientists’ non-scientific interests seem to be in conflict
with responsible conduct of research, and when this is the
case there is a conflict of interest. However, some conflicts of
interest are unavoidable and some are even harmless; conflicts
of interest do not necessarily lead to questionable research
practice and are sometimes an intrinsic part of research itself.
But some, particularly those involving financial interests, are
a serious threat to the responsible conduct of research and
should therefore be taken very seriously. In this chapter we
discuss what exactly a conflict of interest is, and why, when
and how we, as scientists, should actively respond to our
conflicts of interest by, for example, disclosing them.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRCR - A Danish textbook for courses in Responsible Conduct of Research
PublisherDepartment of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen
Publication dateMay 2020
ISBN (Electronic)978-87-93768-19-2
Publication statusPublished - May 2020

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