Ethics

      

To ensure scientific publications are of high quality, international ethical standards for publication have been established. The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) provides advice to editors and publishers on all aspects of publication ethics and, in particular, how to handle cases of research and publication misconduct. It is a forum for editors and publishers of peer-reviewed journals to discuss all aspects of publication ethics.

Dove Medical Press is a member of COPE and subscribes to the principles of its Code of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines.

Every effort is made to ensure publication ethics are upheld and all manuscripts published by Dove Medical Press undergo peer review and are put through iThenticate anti-plagiarism software. Authors are required to complete Conflict of Interest (COI) forms and confirmation of authorship.

If suspected misconduct is raised regarding an article we follow COPE’s Code of Conduct flowcharts for the following:

  • Redundant (duplicate) publication
  • Plagiarism
  • Data falsification/fabrication
  • Changes in authorship
  • Undisclosed conflict of interest (COI)
  • An ethical problem with a submitted manuscript
  • A reviewer has appropriated an author's idea or data 

Article Retraction

The retraction of an article by its authors or the Editor happens when COPE guidelines proceed to this conclusion:

  • A retraction titled "(article title) Retraction" signed by the authors and/or the Editor is published in a subsequent entry
  • A link on the retraction is supplied to the original article (and vice versa)
  • The original article is watermarked "Retracted"
  • The original HTML version is removed

Patient identity/Informed consent
If a patient can be identified, even if their name or a photo is not used, a signed letter must be provided from the patient (or their family), confirming that informed consent has been given for the patient’s information to be used in the manuscript. Any identifying information that are not essential to the manuscript should be omitted. If any doubt exists about identification of subjects the Publisher at Dove Medical Press shall be the final arbiter.

Patient consent to publish/Case Report/Case Series
In cases where details, images, or videos relating to individual participants are included in the manuscript, authors should have obtained written informed consent to publish the details from the participant or parent/guardian and add a statement to this effect in the manuscript. Authors should be able to provide such signed consent if required by the Editor. If a Case Series involves more than three individual cases, in addition to consent for publication being confirmed, we also require confirmation that the research has been approved by a named institutional review board or ethics committee. 

Clinical datasets
Authors are legally and ethically responsible for protecting participants’ identity in clinical dataset. We recommend that the authors seek from the study subjects informed consent to publish the dataset at point of recruitment. When authors have not done this, they should be able to demonstrate that the anonymity and confidentiality of the participants as well as the local protection laws are not compromised or breached for the dataset to be considered for publication.

Human studies
Documented review and approval from a formally constituted review board (Institutional Review Board or Ethics committee) is required for all studies involving people, medical records, and human tissues. For those investigators who do not have access to formal ethics review committees, the principles outlined in the Declaration of Helsinki should be followed. If the study is judged exempt from review, a statement from the committee is required. Written informed consent must have been obtained from human study participants, or their next of kin if under 16 years of age. If not possible, an institutional review board must decide if this is ethically acceptable. We require that these review board approvals are documented by the authors and described in the manuscript itself.

Animal studies
Any manuscript involving animals in research must confirm that ethical and legal approval was obtained prior to the commencement of the study. The name of the body giving the approval must be provided upon manuscript submission. Written confirmation must also be given that all experiments were performed following relevant institutional and national guidelines and regulations.

Ethics FAQ for authors
Q: Do I need ethics approval for retrospective patient data?
A: Yes. Approval from a formally constituted review board (Institutional Review Board or Ethics committee) is required for all studies involving people, medical records, and human samples.
Q: Do I need patient consent for the use of retrospective data?
A: Informed consent by participants should always be sought. If not possible, an institutional review board must decide if this is ethically acceptable. A statement should be included in the Materials and Methods section of your manuscript, regarding the IRB decision.
Q: Do I need ethics approval for a review article or meta-analysis article?
A: No. This will have been obtained by the original authors.
Q: Do I need ethics approval for using samples sourced from commercial providers?
A: Yes. Approval from a formally constituted review board (Institutional Review Board or Ethics committee) is required for all studies involving people, medical records, and human samples.
Q: If ethics approval was not required, what statement should I include in my manuscript?
A: For those investigators who do not have access to formal ethics review committees, the principles outlined in the Declaration of Helsinki should be followed. If the study is judged exempt, a statement from the ethics committee is required. A statement should be included in the Materials and Methods section of your manuscript, regarding the decision.
Q: Do I need ethical approval when reporting on veterinary clinical cases?
A: No. For studies using client-owned animals, a high standard (best practice) of veterinary care and involves informed client consent statement should be included in the Materials and Methods section.
Q: Do I need ethics approval for studies involving live animals?
A: Yes. You must specify in the Materials and Methods section of your manuscript, the ethical review committee approval, and the international, national, and/or institutional guidelines followed regarding the animals welfare.
Q: Do I need approval for cells that have been sourced from an accredited commercial provider?
A: No. However, if cells have been gifted, or not sourced from an accredited commercial provider, we require confirmation that the research has been approved by a named institutional review board or ethics committee.

Updated 8 November 2017