Human and Animal Rights

Ethics approval Research: involving human subjects, human material, or human data, must have been performed in accordance with the 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 the Editor 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, the Editor may contact the ethics committee for further information.

Retrospective ethics approval: If a study has not been granted ethics committee approval prior to commencing, retrospective ethics approval usually cannot be obtained and it may not be possible to consider the manuscript for peer review. The decision on whether to proceed to peer review in such cases is at the Editor's discretion.

Consent to participate: For all research involving human subjects, informed consent to participate in the study should be obtained from participants (or their parent or legal guardian in the case of children under 16) and a statement to this effect should appear in the manuscript.

Research involving animals: Experimental research on vertebrates or any regulated invertebrates must comply with institutional, national, or international guidelines, and where available should have been approved by an appropriate ethics committee. The Basel Declaration outlines fundamental principles to adhere to when conducting research in animals and the International Council for Laboratory Animal Science (ICLAS) has also published ethical guidelines

A statement detailing compliance with relevant guidelines (e.g. the revised Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 in the UK and Directive 2010/63/EU in Europe) and/or ethical approval (including the name of the ethics committee and the reference number where appropriate) must be included in the manuscript. 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 and the reasons for the exemption). The Editor will take account of animal welfare issues and reserves the right to reject a manuscript, especially if the research involves protocols that are inconsistent with commonly accepted norms of animal research. In rare cases, the Editor may contact the ethics committee for further information.

For experimental studies involving client-owned animals, authors must also document informed consent from the client or owner and adherence to a high standard (best practice) of veterinary care. 

Field studies and other non-experimental research on animals must comply with institutional, national, or international guidelines, and where available should have been approved by an appropriate ethics committee. A statement detailing compliance with relevant guidelines and/or appropriate permissions or licenses must be included in the manuscript. We recommend that authors comply with the Convention on the Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and the IUCN Policy Statement on Research Involving Species at Risk of Extinction.


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