Published: February 4, 2021

Sanders, M. R., Kirby, J. N., Toumbourou, J. W., Carey, T. A., & Havighurst, S. S. (2020). Innovation, research integrity, and change: A conflict of interest management framework for program developers. Australian Psychologist, 55(2), 91–101.


Matthew Sanders, James Kirby, John Toumbourou, Timothy Carey, and Sophie Havighurst.

Psychology and the social sciences have an important role to play in developing innovative solutions to pressing global mental health and social problems. Programs developed by psychologists and other social scientists have immense potential to alleviate suffering and to promote healthy human development across the lifespan. In order to realise this potential program developers must manage the research and development challenges involved in testing an intervention, evaluating, and then preparing it for wider dissemination and scaling. Particular challenges and conflicts can occur in managing the joint roles of being a program developer and a researcher evaluating an intervention or innovation. This article examines the management of various forms of conflicts of interest that have the potential to produce bias and decrease the confidence of policy makers, funders, practitioners, fellow researchers, and the public in the value of psychological interventions. We argue that best practice guidelines are needed to assist developers negotiate the predictable, sometime unavoidable but challenging conflicts of interest that arise in the research process.