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Conflict of interest mitigation procedures may have little influence on the perceived procedural fairness of risk-related research.

Besley, John C. and Zahry, Nagwan R. and McCright, Aaron and Elliott, Kevin C. and Kaminski, Norbert E. and Martin, Joseph D. (2019) 'Conflict of interest mitigation procedures may have little influence on the perceived procedural fairness of risk-related research.', Risk analysis., 39 (3). pp. 571-585.


Two between‐subject experiments explored perceived conflict of interest (COI)—operationalized as perceived procedural unfairness—in a hypothetical public–private research partnership to study the health risks of trans fats. Perceived fairness was measured as subjects’ perceptions that health researchers would be willing to listen to a range of voices and minimize bias (i.e., COI) in the context of a research project. Experiment 1 (n = 1,263) randomly assigned research subjects to a partnership that included (1) a combination of an industry partner, a university partner, and a nongovernmental organization (NGO) partner; and (2) one of three processes aimed at mitigating the potential for COI to harm the quality of the research. The procedures included an arm's‐length process meant to keep the university‐based research team from being influenced by the other partners, an independent advisory board to oversee the project, and a commitment to making all data and analyses openly available. The results suggest that having an industry partner has substantial negative effects on perceived fairness and that the benefit of employing a single COI‐mitigation process may be relatively small. Experiment 2 (n = 1,076) assessed a partnership of (1) a university and either an NGO or industry partner and (b) zero, one, two, or three of the three COI‐mitigation procedures. Results suggest there is little value in combining COI‐mitigation procedures. The study has implications for those who aim to foster confidence in scientific findings for which the underlying research may benefit from industry funding.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Publisher statement:This is the accepted version of the following article: Besley, John C., Zahry, Nagwan R., McCright, Aaron, Elliott, Kevin C., Kaminski, Norbert E. & Martin, Joseph D. (2018). Conflict of Interest Mitigation Procedures May Have Little Influence on the Perceived Procedural Fairness of Risk-Related Research. Risk Analysis 39(3): 571-585., which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
Date accepted:23 July 2018
Date deposited:No date available
Date of first online publication:03 September 2018
Date first made open access:03 September 2020

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