The Fire of the Week: Managing Conflicts of Interest

People sometimes ask me what I do, and I find this a challenging question to answer. In some ways, the answer is simple. As managing editor of an oncology journal, I oversee the functioning of that journal, help chart the course for its success, and ensure that all systems are running as efficiently as possible. But when pressed to explain what I do on a day-to-day basis (i.e., what specific tasks I perform), the answer becomes more complicated. This is because each day is different, and like many of us, I am frequently confronted with problems that leave me wondering how to handle them. Unfortunately, these are often the same challenges that demand my attention RIGHT NOW. In my organization, we call these “drive bys,” which occur when someone walks into your office (or sends an email), asking for your immediate attention on an urgent problem. Some organizations also refer to them as “fire drills.” When faced with these unique situations we have not seen previously, we may consider our options. We may ask ourselves, “Do I know anyone who may have seen this situation before?”; “Have I handled something similar in the past?”; or of course, “What would [PERSON’S NAME] do?” We may tap into our personal network or turn to others in our organization. As CSE members, we may send the question to the listserv to see if anyone has words of wisdom for us. What is most important in these fire drills is not having all the […]

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