Artificial intelligence reveals conflicts of interest in scientific articles

Sometimes a conflict of interest is obvious. Researchers who do not disclose the source of funding and

interested in results, often underminedthe legitimacy of their findings. Another example of a conflict of interest when the author of the article was working on another study with the editor of a scientific journal. Such an incident has already led to the fact that one journal withdrew two articles in 2017.

But other cases of conflict are more subtle and theireasy to miss. The point is that articles in many journals are edited by small teams and reviewed by volunteer scientists. In addition, the scientific literature is growing rapidly: the number of studies published annually has increased by about 3% each year over the past 200 years.

With such problems in mind, a magazine publisher withopen access Frontiers provides unique software - a kind of robot assistant. It helps editors identify such issues before articles are published. The software itself is called AIRA, and it checks for potential conflicts of interest. It identifies whether the authors of the manuscript, its editors, or reviewers have co-authored articles in the past.

The software also checks for other issues: whether the article requires special attention or whether the topic is controversial.

However, the software developers note that the tool cannot detect all forms of conflicts of interest. For example, undisclosed funding sources or affiliations.

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