Ethics & Human Research Submission Guidelines
Aims & Scope
Ethics & Human Research (formerly IRB: Ethics & Human Research) aims to foster critical analysis of issues in science and health care that have implications for human biomedical and behavioral research. For example, in addition to covering topics related to informed consent for research, genetic research with human biospecimens, ethics committee review of research protocols, and research with children and other vulnerable populations, E&HR will publish work on rapid developments in science and medicine that bring new challenges to the ethical, regulatory, and policy frameworks that govern research with humans in the United States and elsewhere.
E&HR invites articles, commentaries, case studies, letters, and book reviews that address topics including, but not limited to,
- review, approval, and oversight of human research by institutional review boards (IRBs), research ethics committees (RECs), and other oversight bodies (e.g., those of funders and regulators and those at the national and transnational levels);
- regulatory and legal developments related to research with humans and to the privacy and confidentiality of their medical and other personal data;
- informed consent for participation in research;
- consent, privacy, and oversight issues related to research with human biospecimens and associated genetic and medical data;
- research with organ donors, transplant organs, and transplant recipients;
- research involving learning health care systems;
- research with digital data from social media and other “big data” collections and platforms;
- ethical issues surrounding novel trial designs, such as basket trials, umbrella trials or platform trials;
- ethical issues in the testing and development of computational technologies from machine learning and artificial intelligence;
- human research involving novel biotechnologies such as genome-editing techniques, cell-, gene-, and tissue-based interventions, and preventive and therapeutic neurological drug and device interventions;
- research on nonhuman subjects and the ethical implications for the conduct and oversight of biomedical and behavioral human research and for the potential harms and benefits to people who participate in human research studies;
- the implications of the quality and reporting of preclinical research involving animals and other models (e.g., in vitro assays, epidemiological studies, computer simulations) for the ethical translation of such research to human clinical trials;
- the intersection of human research ethics with other lines of analysis and regulation in research (e.g., issues related to responsible research and innovation);
- patient-centered research and community-based participatory research;
- research with immigrants and with populations based on gender, socioeconomic class, race, and ethnicity, including with American Indians, Alaskan Natives, and other indigenous peoples and communities;
- research with prisoners, children, pregnant women, and other individuals who may be considered vulnerable (e.g., individuals who are cognitively impaired, homeless, or have substance use disorders);
- human research in low- and middle-income countries;
- human research in refugee populations and among internally displaced people; and
- human research in global health emergencies (e.g., natural disasters, war and other violent conflicts, infectious disease outbreaks).
How to Submit a Manuscript
III. Types of Manuscripts
Listed below are the suggested minimum and maximum word counts for each type of manuscript. The editor may commission manuscripts for these sections. Placement of manuscripts under section headings is at the editor’s discretion.
Articles (conceptual pieces or empirical studies)
4,500-8,500 words, shorter manuscripts will also be accepted (word count does not include references, figures, tables, appendices, or other supplementary materials).
Essays and Commentaries
1,400 words or more
1,400 words or more
Author Submission Checklist
A brief cover letter should acknowledge submission of the manuscript. Authors must confirm that neither the manuscript nor any of its content, including tables, figures, and other supplementary materials, has been published elsewhere or is in press at another publication. When uploading the cover letter (and any other document that identifies the author[s]) into the manuscript review system (ScholarOne, or Manuscript Central), be sure to designate the file as “Additional file NOT for review and NOT for publication.”
Abstract for Articles
Up to 150 words and 4-6 keywords for indexing purposes.
Manuscript Cover Page
A separate cover page should include
- title of manuscript
- estimated word count (not including references, tables, and other supplementary materials)
- contact author’s name, professional title, institutional affiliation, mailing address, telephone and fax numbers, email address
- coauthors’ names, professional titles, institutional affiliations, telephone numbers, and email addresses
- acknowledgments: Authors must disclose all financial support for the research and development of the manuscript.
- human subjects protection statement: If research was conducted with human participants, a statement is required indicating that an institutional review board (IRB) or other relevant ethics review committee approved the study. If ethics approval was not obtained, an explanation must be provided.
When uploading the cover page (and any other document that identifies the author[s]) into the manuscript review system, be sure to designate the file as “Additional file NOT for review and NOT for publication.”
Manuscripts are blind reviewed by peer reviewers. Author identification should be removed from the text and references. This can be accomplished by referring to your work in the third person and citing the references in the usual manner (do not delete your name from the references). When uploading the cover letter, cover page (and any other document that identifies the author[s]) into the manuscript review system, designate the file as “Additional file NOT for review and NOT for publication.” Manuscripts recommended for publication may be subject to revisions, additional review, and standard copyediting. Manuscripts will not be returned to authors. Copyright is transferred to The Hastings Center upon acceptance.
Conflict of Interest
Authors will be asked to disclose any conflicts of interest. expects all prospective contributors and reviewers to declare any potential conflicts of interest. Conflicts of interest include any personal or professional affiliations, any financial interests, and/or any past, present, or anticipated activities that may compromise the quality or objectivity of a manuscript or review. The rough test that we ask authors to employ is, Is there anything that would likely cause readers to second-guess your objectivity if it were to emerge after publication? Authors will be asked to disclose conflicts of interest when a manuscript is submitted for consideration to E&HR.
Work Funded by the National Institutes of Health
Pursuant to NIH mandate, authors who received NIH funding for their work are required to deposit the accepted version of their manuscript to PubMed Central. By “accepted version,” we refer to the version of a manuscript following any revisions or corrections that the author(s) made following peer review and before editing by the E&HR editorial staff. Authors are responsible for sending the accepted version of their manuscript to PubMed. The title should be updated if it is changed for publication. This accepted version will be made publicly available 12 months after publication. For further information, see www.wiley.com/go/nihmandate.
Statement about IRB Approval
When relevant, authors should incorporate information about IRB approval into the methods section or another appropriate section of their manuscript, redacting the institution’s name for peer review. For example, in a “Study Methods” section of the manuscript, authors may add, “The [name of] University School of Medicine’s IRB approved this study under its expedited review process.”
- Submit a Word document of the manuscript with text in Times-New Roman 12-point font, double-spaced, with 1-inch margins.
- Submit all supplementary materials (e.g., tables and figures) as separate Word documents. All supplementary materials should have a short title.
- References are to be endnotes—they should be at the end of the manuscript. Do not insert references as footnotes, at the bottom of manuscript pages.
- Consecutively number all pages of text and references. (Each endnote number should appear only once in the text, never repeating.)
Please note that we are now using a modified Chicago style for manuscripts and references (no longer a modified Vancouver style). Articles accepted for publication must conform to the modified style shown below when submitted for final formatting into galleys.
- References should be enumerated consecutively as endnotes that appear at the end of the text. The first time a source is used, embed a superscript number in the text and provide the full citation at the end of the manuscript. Please try to limit the number of cited works in each endnote to the three most important or most useful sources. See below for how to list multiple references1 in a single endnote and how to abbreviate second and subsequent citations to a given work in the endnote section.2
- Journal titles are always spelled out in full, with “The” omitted from the start of journal titles.
- Direct quotations from sources should be referenced with the specific page number(s) on which the quoted passage occurs.
Articles in Journals
King, N. M. P., “Research with Human Subjects: Humility and Deception,” IRB: Ethics & Human Research 40, no. 2 (2018): 12-14.
More than three authors
Christopher, P. P., et al., “Enrolling in Clinical Research While Incarcerated: What Influences Participants’ Decisions?,” Hasting Center Report 47 (2017): 21-29.
Citing a specific page following the full-page range for a piece
Resnik, D. B., “Centralized Institutional Review Boards: Assessing the Arguments and Evidence,” Journal of Clinical Research Best Practices 8, no. 11 (2012): 1-13, at 6.
Citing a specific page when the full citation for a piece appears earlier in the endnotes
Resnik, “Centralized Institutional Review Boards,” 11. [Note that, as in the example in note 2 below, an abbreviated form of the citation is used because the full citation has already been provided.]
Books and Other Monographs
Klitzman, R., The Ethics Police? The Struggle to Make Human Research Safe (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015).
Editor(s) or compiler(s) as author
Annas, G. J., L. H. Glantz, and B. F. Katz, eds., Informed Consent to Human Experimentation: The Subject’s Dilemma (Cambridge, MA: Ballinger, 1977).
Organization as author and publisher
National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research, The Belmont Report: Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects of Research (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1979).
Lederer, S. E., and M. A. Grodin, “Historical Overview: Pediatric Experimentation,” in Children as Research Subjects: Science, Ethics, and Law, ed. M. A. Grodin and L. H. Glantz (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), 3-28. [Note that “ed.” means “edited by” here, not “editor,” so the plural “eds.” is not used.]
Kolata, G. A., “A Cancer Conundrum: Too Many Drug Trials, Too Few Patients,” New York Times, August 12, 2017.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/.
“Clinical Trials and Human Subject Protection,” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration, accessed August 13, 2018.
Declaration of Helsinki, World Medical Association, October 2000, http://www.wma.net/e/policy/17-c_e.html.
Miller, F. G., and A. D. Lyerly, “Navigating Ethics Review of Human Infection Trials with Zika,” Bioethics Forum (blog), April 30, 2018, https://www.thehastingscenter.org/navigating-ethics-review-human-infection-trials-zika/.
Multiple References in an Endnote and Second (or Any Subsequent) Reference to a Given Work
- Gewirth, A., The Community of Rights (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996); P. P. Christopher et al., “Enrolling in Clinical Research While Incarcerated: What Influences Participants’ Decisions?,” Hasting Center Report 47 (2017): 21-29; Ornstein, C., and K. Thomas, “Sloan Kettering’s Cozy Deal with Start-up Ignites a New Uproar,” New York Times, September 20, 2018.
- Christopher et al., “Enrolling in Clinical Research While Incarcerated.”