When reporting experiments on human subjects, authors should indicate IRB (Institutional Research Board, also known as REB) approval/exemption and whether the procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000 (5). If doubt exists whether the research was conducted in accordance with the Helsinki Declaration, the authors must explain the rationale for their approach and demonstrate that the institutional review body explicitly approved the doubtful aspects of the study. When reporting experiments on animals, authors should be asked to indicate whether the institutional and national guide for the care and use of laboratory animals was followed.
Consistent with best practices in research, informed consent and the ability of participants to opt out should usually be provided. However, for certain types of research, informed consent cannot be obtained (e.g. analyses of Twitter postings, A/B testing of websites etc.). In these cases, the investigator should comment on the criteria proposed by Eysenbach & Till (BMJ 2001) and obtain IRB approval which is often particularly important for research with mental health e-communities.
Patients have a right to privacy that should not be infringed without informed consent. Identifying information, including patients' names, initials, or hospital numbers, should not be published in written descriptions, photographs, and pedigrees unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and the patient (or parent or guardian) gives written informed consent for publication. Informed consent for this purpose requires that a patient who is identifiable be shown the manuscript to be published.
Identifying details should be omitted if they are not essential. Complete anonymity is difficult to achieve, however, and informed consent should be obtained if there is any doubt. For example, masking the eye region in photographs of patients is inadequate protection of anonymity. If identifying characteristics are altered to protect anonymity, such as in genetic pedigrees, authors should provide assurance that alterations do not distort scientific meaning and editors should so note.
When informed consent has been obtained, it should be indicated in the published article.
Authors should identify individuals who provide writing assistance and disclose the funding source for this assistance.
JMIR Publications is a member of COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics). The entire publication process, from submission to review to publication, adheres to the COPE guidelines, and suspected cases of misconduct will be investigated using COPE Flowcharts.