Statement of Informed Consent
We follow ICMJE and COPE Guidelines for appropriate consenting. Patients’ privacy should not be breached without taking consent. In written descriptions, there should not be any specifications regarding patients including names, hospital numbers, photographs, or pedigrees unless the information is needed for scientific purposes and the patient allows for publication with written informed consent. It should be disclosed by authors to the patients that any identifiable material could be available on the Internet or in printed form after publication. Patient consent ought to be written and archived with the journal, the authors, or both, as settled by local rules and regulations. Applicable laws vary from territory to territory, and journals should make their own policies with legal guidance. Since a journal that archives the consent will be aware of patient identity, some journals may decide that patient confidentiality is better guarded by having the author archive the consent and instead of providing the journal with a written statement that attests that they have received and archived written patient consent.
Nonessential identifying details should be omitted. Informed consent should be obtained if there is any doubt that anonymity can be maintained. For example, masking the eye region in photographs of patients is inadequate protection of anonymity. If identifying characteristics are de-identified, authors should provide assurance, and editors should so note, that such changes do not distort scientific meaning.
The requirement for informed consent should be included in the journal’s instructions for authors. When informed consent has been obtained, it should be indicated in the published article.
- International Committee of Medical Journal Editors ("Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals")