We follow the recommendations of International committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) for the protection of research participants’ and apply informed consent under research ethics.
I. All investigators should ensure that the planning conduct and reporting of human research are in accordance with the Helsinki Declaration as revised in 2013. All authors should seek approval to conduct research from an independent local, regional or national review body (e.g., ethics committee, institutional review board). 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 local, regional or national review body explicitly approved the doubtful aspects of the study. Approval by a responsible review body does not preclude editors from forming their own judgment whether the conduct of the research was appropriate.
II. Patients have a right to privacy that should not be violated without informed consent. Identifying information, including names, initials, or hospital numbers, should not be published in written descriptions, photographs, or pedigrees unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and the patient (or parent or guardian) gives written informed consent for publication.
III. 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 re-identified, authors should provide assurance, and editors should so note, that such changes do not distort scientific meaning.
IV. Participation by individuals capable of giving informed consent as subjects in medical research must be voluntary. Although it may be appropriate to consult family members or community leaders, no individual capable of giving informed consent may be enrolled in a research study unless he or she freely agrees.
V. When seeking informed consent for participation in a research study the researcher must be particularly cautious if the potential subject is in a dependent relationship with the researchers or may consent under any constraint. In such situations the informed consent must be sought by an appropriately qualified individual who is completely independent of this relationship.
VI. For a potential research subject who is incapable of giving informed consent, the researcher must seek informed consent from the legally authorized representative. These individuals must not be included in a research study that has no likelihood of benefit for them unless it is intended to promote the health of the group represented by the potential subject, the research cannot instead be performed with persons capable of providing informed consent, and the research entails only minimal risk and minimal burden.
VII. Research involving subjects who are physically or mentally incapable of giving consent, for example, unconscious patients, may be done only if the physical or mental condition that prevents giving informed consent is a necessary characteristic of the research group. In such circumstances the researchers must seek informed consent from the legally authorized representative. If no such representative is available and if the research cannot be delayed, the study may proceed without informed consent provided that the specific reasons for involving subjects with a condition that renders them unable to give informed consent have been stated in the research protocol and the study has been approved by a research ethics committee. Consent to remain in the research must be obtained as soon as possible from the subject or a legally authorized representative.
VIII. For medical research using identifiable human material or data, such as research on material or data contained in biobanks or similar repositories, researchers must seek informed consent for its collection, storage and/or reuse. There may be exceptional situations where consent would be impossible or impracticable to obtain for such research. In such situations the research may be done only after consideration and approval of a research ethics committee.