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Assent and reification: a response to the commentators
  1. Anna Smajdor
  1. IFIKK, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
  1. Correspondence to Dr Anna Smajdor, IFIKK, University of Oslo, Oslo 0313, Norway; acsmajdor{at}

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My paper on assent and reification in research involving adults with impairments of capacity and/or communication (AWIC)1 drew many thoughtful and insightful responses. I am grateful to all who submitted commentaries.

Most agreed in principle that AWIC could be better represented in medical research. However, several commentators felt that further clarification was needed in terms of what assent is and how it should be obtained and operationalised.2 I fully agree that if increased representation of AWIC is to come about through an assent-based approach, further clarificatory work is needed, and am glad to think my paper may function as a stimulus for this.

Some commentators worry that an assent-based approach will impose heavy demands on researchers and entail higher costs.2 I acknowledge this, but would argue that if better inclusion of AWIC is a worthwhile goal, we should be willing to accept some costs. The move from an exclusionary to an inclusive approach will become less demanding once it is accepted as the default. And as I argue in my paper, we have resources on which to draw, including materials designed to facilitate comprehension and communication with AWIC that have been developed in other spheres,3 as well as existing protocols and structures that facilitate …

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  • Contributors AS is the sole contributor for this work.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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