Do all clinical research publications show strong application of ethics principles and respect for biomedical law? We examined, for the year 2009, the ethics requirements displayed on the website of 30 leading medical journals with an impact factor (IF) >10, and 30 others with an IF <10. We carried out a short study looking at the relationship between the IF of a journal and the ethics requirements in its instructions to authors. We show that the IF of a biomedical journal bears a direct relationship to its ethics requirements. Such results should improve the ethics requirements of all biomedical journals, especially those with low IF, so that they are internationally standardised to the higher standard required by journals with higher IF.
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As the subject is non-clinical, no signed consent to publication was needed. All authors, external and internal, had full access to all of the data (including statistical reports and tables) in the study and can take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.
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