Consent for publication (participant)


Comments please: framework for editors when requesting patient consent for publication in small cohort studies

The International Rhuematology Editors' Group would like to receive comments from wider specialty communities on their framework below. Please send any comments to Shehnaz Ahmed.


Case histories and post publication debate


A letter to the editor from reader A was received by our journal concerning a published case history from author B.  Reader A questioned the choice of treatment and author B's conclusion regarding the reason why the patient died. We believe this case raises at least two interesting questions.


Parental consent for participants


As editor of a psychology journal, I received a manuscript from a group of scholars. The authors describe a qualitative online study with adolescent girls, aged 15–18 years, who met in person with a stranger they first ‘met’ online. The girls describe their reasoning about the risks, the safety measures they used and reactions to discomfort they experienced in the meetings.


New! Discussion document on Consent for Publishing Medical Case Reports

COPE has published a new discussion document ‘COPE guidance on best practice for consent for publishing medical case reports’. This discussion document aims to lay out the principles that a consent form should generally include, and to collect examples of sample forms so that editors can develop a form that suits their purpose.


Data anonymity


A paper was submitted to our journal. The managing editor was concerned about patient information in the paper and queried the authors. The authors responded that the data were collected from routine samples and so consent was never obtained. The patients were lost to follow-up, and there was no ethics committee approval as it involved the study of existing data, but they did discuss with the institutional review board who said it was exempt.


Revoked parental consent


Our journal publishes case reports describing the evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of unusual cases. Parents must provide written informed consent prior to manuscript submission. No cases are presented with unique identifiers and each is anonymised as much as possible.


Identifying patient information published in a figure


A reader emailed a society, which forwarded the message to the journal office, noting that he can read the name of a patient in a figure in a published letter to the editor. The letter was published online 3 months earlier and had just appeared in print; it was the print version the reader saw. The reader asked if the patient's name could be removed.


A case of child abuse


Child abuse is a common but underdiagnosed problem in our country. The abuse ranges from minor injury to severe head trauma. The true incidence of intentional head injury in children remains uncertain.


Ethics committee waives consent for case report, editor disagrees


The authors wish to publish a case report that aims to characterise complex chromosomal abnormalities in a rare congenital syndrome. It describes, in detail, the clinical features of two newborn infants. When asked about consent to publish, the authors said they did not obtain it because the data were reported from existing clinical diagnostic test results and therefore did not constitute a systematic investigation and that no identifiable information was included in the manuscript.