Frequently Asked Questions

▼   Does the USA Conflict of Interest Disclosure replace the AL Statement of Economic Interest?
No. Completion of the Employee Conflict of Interest Disclosure fulfills the disclosure requirements of the University of South Alabama Conflict of Interest Policies and federal requirements involving sponsored research, and related activities. Although there are some similarities, completion of this disclosure form does not fulfill the Alabama Ethics Commission’s requirement to file an annual Statement of Economic Interests.
▼   How do I know if a company is publicly traded or privately held?

Public companies, like Wal-Mart, Ford and Coca-Cola, are those that sell stock to investors.  They are required to submit information to the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), so they typically have more information available to researchers.  Public companies are required to provide detailed financial statements and annual reports to stakeholders.  You'll also find a lot of information from news organizations, investment analysts, market research firms, and publishing companies.  Public company stock is openly traded, often on one of the large American stock exchanges (NASDAQ, NYSE).  So, if you can identify a stock ticker symbol, the company is public.

A searchable database of public companies is available here

Private companies, which do not sell stock to investors, are not required to provide information about their companies to anyone. As a result, they can be more difficult to research. If you find financial information, it is usually an estimate.  Estimates are sometimes generated based on the type of industry and number of employees.  The estimate could be very wrong!  If the private company has competitors that are public, you have a better chance of finding some information on the company.  Sometimes, all you will find are contact info and what they do.

▼   Are students required to file an annual conflict of interest disclosure form?
Students participating in sponsored research, technology commercialization, or related activities may be required to complete the COI disclosure form.  If addition information is needed, please email for assistance.
▼   Do I need to submit a disclosure form for every research proposal/project I am involved in?
No. You should complete one conflict of interest disclosure form annually and update it within 30 days of changes occurring.  If you discover a conflict with a specific research proposal that has not already been reported, you must update your disclosure form before the proposal is submitted.


Email one of the following with any questions you may have: 


Chris Hansen, Chief Compliance Officer (general questions)

Dusty Layton, Exec Dir, Office of Research Compliance & Assurance (research-related)

Dr. Harold Pardue, Dean, Graduate School (faculty-related)