Human and animal right

1. All research must have been carried out within an appropriate ethical framework. If there is suspicion that work has not taken place within an appropriate ethical framework, Editors will follow the Misconduct policy and may reject the manuscript, and/or contact the author(s)’ institution or ethics committee. On rare occasions, if the Editor has serious concerns about the ethics of a study, the manuscript may be rejected on ethical grounds, even if approval from an ethics committee has been obtained.

2. Research involving human subjects, human material, or human data, must have been performed in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki (https://www.wma.net/what-we-do/medical-ethics/declaration-of-helsinki/) and must have been approved by an appropriate ethics committee. A statement detailing this, including the name of the ethics committee and the reference number where appropriate, must appear in all manuscripts reporting such research. If a study has been granted an exemption from requiring ethics approval, this should also be detailed in the manuscript (including the name of the ethics committee that granted the exemption). Further information and documentation to support this should be made available to Editors on request. Manuscripts may be rejected if the Editor considers that the research has not been carried out within an appropriate ethical framework. In rare cases, Editors may contact the ethics committee for further information.

3. If a study has not been submitted to an ethics committee prior to commencing, retrospective ethics approval usually cannot be obtained and it may not be possible to consider the manuscript for peer review. How to proceed in such cases is at the Editor(s)’ discretion.

4. Authors reporting the use of a new procedure or tool in a clinical setting, for example as a technical advance or case report, must give a clear justification in the manuscript for why the new procedure or tool was deemed more appropriate than usual clinical practice to meet the patient’s clinical need. Such justification is not required if the new procedure is already approved for clinical use at the authors’ institution. Authors will be expected to have obtained ethics committee approval and informed patient consent for any experimental use of a novel procedure or tool where a clear clinical advantage based on clinical need was not apparent before treatment.