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Saturday, October 17, 2020

Automating Declarations of Conflicts of Interest

Had not heard of this specifically stated this way. Contracts.   Considerable discussion below. 

We Need to Automate the Declaration of Conflicts of Interest

By Richard T. Snodgrass, Marianne Winslett,   Communications of the ACM, October 2020, Vol. 63 No. 10, Pages 30-32   10.1145/3414556

Over the last 70 years of computer science research, our handling of conflicts of interest has changed very little. Each paper's corresponding author must still manually declare all their co-authors' conflicts of interest, even though they probably know little about their most senior coauthors' recent activities. As top-tier conference program committees increase past 500 members, many with common, easily confusable names, PC chairs with thousands of reviews to assign cannot possibly double-check corresponding authors' manual declarations against their paper's assigned reviewers. Nor can reviewers reliably catch unreported conflicts. Audits at recent top-tier venues across several areas of computer science each uncovered more than 100 instances where, at the first venue, a pair of recent coauthors failed to declare their conflict of interest; at the second venue, someone was assigned to review a recent co-author's submission; and at the third venue, someone reviewed a submission written by a prior co-author from any year. Even the concept of a conflict deserves closer scrutiny: an audit at yet another recent top-tier venue edition found more than 100 cases in which prior co-authors from any year reviewed each other's submissions.  ;;; " 

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