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Ethical oversight

Ethical oversight should include, but is not limited to, policies on consent to publication, publication on vulnerable populations, ethical conduct of research using animals, ethical conduct of research using human subjects, handling confidential data and ethical business/marketing practices

Our core practices

Core practices are the policies and practices journals and publishers need, to reach the highest standards in publication ethics. We include cases with advice, guidance for day-to-day practice, education modules and events on topical issues, to support journals and publishers fulfil their policies.

A commentary on a piece of (unethical) research


We have received a paper in which the authors have exposed a group of babies to physiologically unnatural circumstances. These circumstances do however arise quite regularly in some peoples’ lives. None of the babies had anything wrong with them, but some of them were siblings of babies who had died.


False memory syndrome


A doctor has submitted an account of how his daughter falsely accused him of having abused her as a child. His daughter is another British doctor. We would like to publish the account as part of a package of articles on false memory syndrome. The questions we are considering are: (1) Can it ever be right to publish something that describes the intimacies of a family conflict, to illustrate a subject?


Living unrelated (commercial) organ transplant


A paper submitted for publication describes a series of children with renal failure who had had kidneys transplanted from commercially acquired donors. The authors of the paper had not carried out the transplants. Indeed, they had been carried out in another country. The authors simply reported what happened to the patients after they returned. The paper, while not of high priority for publication, is acceptable from the scientific point of view. Can it be accepted on ethical grounds?


Should we have had author consent for a randomised controlled trial of a peer review?


A medical journal conducted a randomised controlled trial of papers submitted to it without getting consent from the authors concerned. An author found out and objected. Should the journal have sought consent from its authors?