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December 11, 2016
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Ethical Policy
Researches involving humans
 
Ethics approval 
All studies involving humans (individuals, human data or material) must have been performed according to the principles of the Declaration of Helsinki. Approval must have been obtained for all protocols from the authors’ institutional or other relevant ethics committee to ensure that they meet national and international guidelines. Details of the approval must be provided when submitting an article, including the institution, review board name, and approval number(s).
Human studies classified by race/ethnicity, age, disease/disabilities, religion, sex/gender, sexual orientation, or other socially constructed groupings, should include a justification of the choice of definitions and categories, including whether any rules of human categorization were required by the relevant funding agencies. Appropriate non-stigmatizing language should be used when describing different groups.
Ethics approval must be obtained before the research is conducted; retrospective approval can usually not be obtained and it may not be possible to publish the study.
 
Patient privacy and informed consent for publication
As stated in the Uniform Requirements of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors: “Patients have a right to privacy that should not be infringed without informed consent. Identifying information should not be published in written descriptions, photographs, and pedigrees unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and the patient (or parent or guardian) gives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 the patient be shown the manuscript to be published. When informed consent has been obtained it should be indicated in the published article.”
Consent to participate: For all studies involving human participants, informed written consent to participate in the study must have been obtained, and this should be stated in the article under a heading entitled ‘Consent’. You can use our consent form, or your own institution’s form. If only oral consent was obtained, the reasons must be stated, confirmation of IRB approval that oral consent was adequate must be provided, and a statement of how it was documented must be included in the Consent section.
 
Consent for publication of identifiable data: For any articles, posters and slides that include information potentially identifying an individual, please ensure that you have obtained written, informed consent from all patients or healthy participants (or their legal guardians for minors, or next of kin if the patient is dead), confirming that the results can be published. This includes large clinical datasets with direct or indirect identifiers (see this article for information), certain details about individuals, images, etc. If applicable, you are also required to include an explicit statement, under a separate heading of the ‘Consent’ section (we suggest: ‘Written informed consent for publication of their clinical details and/or clinical images was obtained from the patient/parent/guardian/relative of the patient.’).
 
Alternatively, if no consent for publication s required (e.g. the data has been anonymized), this should be obviously stated and a note should be included to confirm that such alterations have not influenced scientific meaning.
 
Researches involving animals
Experiments involving vertebrates or regulated invertebrates must be implemented under the ethical guidelines of the authors’ institution and national or international regulations. If applicable, a statement of granted permissions or licenses should be included. If animals were used but ethical approval was not required, a clear statement should be included stating the reason for that.
In all cases, a statement should be included, confirming that all necessary efforts were made to reduce any suffering of animals and providing details of how this was achieved.
 
Researches involving plants
Studies on plants must be conducted under the guidelines provided by the authors’ institution and national or international regulations. if applicable, a statement of granted permissions or licenses should be included. 
 
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