Research Ethics

Human rights, privacy, and confidentiality 

IAS asks from the author regarding patient consent as well as ethical approval and maintain the confidentiality and follows different policy for the diverse subject journal. Clinical study must be conducted according to the Declaration of Helsinki principles, as per the guidelines of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (www.icmje.org) with regard to the patient’s consent for clinical research or human participation in a study. 

  • In the biomedical sciences, editors should consider only publishing information and images from individual participants where the authors have obtained the individual's free prior informed consent. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors guidance says:
    "Non-essential identifying details should be omitted. Informed consent should be obtained if there is any doubt that anonymity can be maintained. For example, masking the eye region in photographs of patients is inadequate protection of anonymity."
  • In the social sciences and humanities, there are numerous ethical guidelines for researchers working with human participants. Social science and humanities researchers regularly work with audio and video materials gathered in public places where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy. They also use materials derived from broadcast sources, as in some political science or cultural studies work, where copyright must be addressed but where consent issues do not arise. However, wherever appropriate, social scientists are also responsible for protecting the confidentiality of human participants, and obtaining informed consent from all participants by openly communicating any and all information that is likely to influence their willingness to participate (for example, sponsorship, purpose and anticipated outcomes, and possible consequences that publication of the research may have for participants). Guidelines include those from the American Sociological AssociationInternational Society of Ethnobiology, and American Anthropological Association.

For social research data the Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and the Commonwealth suggests in its "Ethical Guidelines for Good Research Practice" that it is not always possible or necessary to gain written consent to publish, particularly when researchers are working with people with limited literacy or in cultures where formal bureaucratic procedures are problematic. However, it remains prudent for journals to ask authors to provide evidence that they have obtained informed consent. The American Anthropological Association's statement recommends that:
"Informed consent does not necessarily imply or require a particular written or signed form. It is the quality of the consent, not its format, which is relevant."
Exceptional cases might arise where gaining an individual's free prior informed consent is not possible but where publishing an individual's information or image can be demonstrated to have a genuine public health interest or to serve an important public need. In cases like this, before taking any action editors should seek and follow counsel from the journal owner, the publisher, and/or legal professionals.

  • Case report: The best policy is for journals to require that authors confirm whether explicit written consent to publish has been received from any people described (for example, in case reports), The CARE guidelines are useful for editors who publish case reports.
    https://publicationethics.org/resources/guidelines/journals%E2%80%99-best-practices-ensuring-consent-publishing-medical-case-reports
  • Registering clinical trials: The World Health Organization and Declaration of Helsinki both suggest that clinical trials should be registered prospectively before participants are enrolled. The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations also requires its members to register trials. Legislation varies. For example, the US Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act of 2007 do not require registration for Phase 1 studies.
    IAS Medical journals ask from the author for Clinical trial registration numbers should be included in all papers that report their results. A suitable statement about this in journal instructions for authors might read: "We require that clinical trials are prospectively registered in a publicly accessible database. Please include the name of the trial register and your clinical trial registration number at the end of your abstract. If your trial is not registered or was registered retrospectively, please explain the reasons for this."

Animals in research

Research relating animals should be conducted with the same strictness as research in humans. IAS journal promotes authors to execute the 3Rs principles:"The 3Rs are a widely accepted ethical framework for conducting scientific experiments using animals humanely:
Replacement - use of non-animal methods; Reduction - methods which reduce the number of animals used; Refinement - methods which improve animal welfare."
The International Council for Laboratory Animal Science has published ethical guidelines for editors and reviewers. Journals should encourage authors to adhere to animal research reporting standards, for example, the ARRIVE reporting guidelines, which describe the details journals should require from authors regarding:

  • Study design and statistical analysis.
  • Experimental procedures.
  • Experimental animals.
  • Housing and husbandry.

IAS asks authors to confirm that ethical and legal approval was obtained prior to the start of the study, and state the name of the body giving the approval. Authors should also state whether experiments were performed in accordance with relevant institutional and national guidelines and regulations. Editors have to check all the ethics related to the animal study and If concerns are raised or clarifications are needed, they may need to request evidence of ethical research approval or question authors.

Biosecurity

For life science journal IAS Journals should ask authors to inform them at the time of manuscript submission if their study has the potential for both benevolent and malevolent application. This is often referred to as "dual use research."Journals must ask these authors to conform to the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) guidelines for Dual Use Life Sciences Research. The June 2007 NSABB report presents a useful description and discussion of "dual use research of concern."

Data availability & reporting guidelines 

IAS requires authors to agree to a data availability statement with all submissions. The statement requires that authors must make all original data underlying the findings described in their manuscript fully available upon request by IAS. Failure or refusal to provide these data upon request will be grounds for rejection if the manuscript is under review. Authors are expected to maintain all original data for a minimum of 6 years after the final publication date of their article. Accurate and complete reporting enables readers to appraise research, replicate it, and use it fully. IAS Editors encourage authors to follow their discipline's guidelines for accurate and complete reporting of research to evaluate the methods and results so that readers can reach their own conclusions.