Informed consent is essential to ethical research. Researchers should always obtain informed consent from individual participants, and consent should be voluntary, specific, and offered without coercion, bribery, or misinformation of any kind.
Authors are expected to adhere to national and international research ethics guidelines, such as the Belmont Report and the Nuremberg Code, as well as ethical principles outlined by their disciplines, such as the American Anthropological Association and the British Sociological Association
Authors should obtain informed consent from all human participants in their research.
Authors are expected to describe the research project clearly and in appropriate detail to participants, explain what data will be collected and how it will be anonymized (if relevant) and stored, and explain how the interviews, surveys, and/or other data collected and the results of the study will be used and distributed.
Authors are also responsible for clearly explaining benefits or risks associated with participation in the study.
Studies involving human participants should include a statement within the manuscript confirming that informed consent was provided by the research subjects (or their parents/ guardians). This statement should explain how consent was given – ideally, written informed consent – and what the agreement covered.
There are cases where written consent is not feasible, and verbal consent is appropriate, but this should be explained within the manuscript. In these instances, researchers should record the consent process using a recording device, where possible. Cases where verbal consent would be appropriate include:
Where the participant may not be literate.
Where the participant is a member of a community or cultural group in which signing contract-like documents presents a concern.
Where a written record presents potential harm to either the researcher or the participant (e.g. immigrants who could be identified as undocumented).
In cases where written informed consent was not provided, authors must be prepared to provide further information about the rationale and method of obtaining verbal consent to the journal editorial office upon request. Authors who have obtained written consent should be prepared to provide evidence of informed consent, such as signed consent forms upon request, unless unable to do so due to confidentiality or legal restrictions.