Ethics Web Resources

The following links are to Web sites that contain information useful to editors on ethical issues. The list is divided generally into Research Ethics and Publication Ethics, although the two topics are closely related. These sites have been reviewed and very briefly summarized by WAME Ethics Committee members; preference has been given to regularly updated sites. Sites with especially detailed and plentiful resources are noted with an asterisk. Journal sites whose only resource is instructions for authors are not included since they all can be accessed at Suggestions for additional sites are welcomed and should be sent to Lorraine Ferris.

Research Ethics


American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC)*

Sample ethical research policies and procedures from several dozen major US universities, including links to the research ethics policies of all major US funding agencies ( and US federal oversight agencies (, and on-line curricula for training programs in ethical research (

Declaration of Helsinki

Food and Drug Administration (United States)

Includes complete requirements and guidelines for Good Clinical Practice in FDA-regulated clinical trials

Health Care Ethics Committee Forum (HEC Forum)

“HEC Forum is an international, peer-reviewed publication featuring original contributions of interest to practicing physicians, nurses, social workers, risk managers, attorneys, ethicists, and other HEC committee members.” A lot of very useful subject related titles.

Indian Council of Medical Research

This site contains the Council’s “Ethical Guidelines for Biomedical Research on Human Subjects, 2000,” including specific principles for clinical trials, epidemiological studies, genetic research, transplantation research, and assisted reproductive technologies.

National Institutes of Health*

A large collection of official resources on ethics from the US National Institutes of Health, with the emphasis on research ethics, not publication ethics. Examples include


Public Responsibility in Medicine & Research (PRIM&R)

An extensive site focussing primarily on medical research ethics, including the operation of institutional review boards (IRBs) and institutional animal care and use committees (IACUCs); educating for the responsible conduct of research; and scientific integrity and conflicts of interest.

University of Pittsburgh

This site is a store house of information. It provides information on the workshops conducted to teach survival skills to professionals. These include those on writing skills, ethics, conducting research, etc.
The resources page has a bibliography of resources that include those on doing research, oral communication, ethics of conducting research in developing countries, responsible scientific conduct, teaching and writing.

United States Federal Regulations

Regulations regarding human subjects protection contained in Title 45 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Chapter 46 (45 CFR 46) accessible from here using the search term "46." This is an excellent resource when you need to know the content of a specific US Federal Regulation.

World Medical Association (WMA)

The Declaration of Helsinki, plus basic and ethical principles for medical research.

Publication Ethics


American Chemical Society (ACS)

Ethical guidelines for publications in chemical research. The site deals primarily with the process of publication, research, and conflict of interest in the chemical industry.

American Medical Writers Association (AMWA)

“Code of Ethics” for biomedical communicators, education programs, and an on-site workshop program.

American Statistical Association

“Comprehensive Ethical Guidelines for Statistical Practice,” with a detailed section on responsibilities in publications and testimony.

BioMed Central (BNC) Medical Ethics*

A collection of peer-reviewed original research papers on various ethics topics. The BioMed Central initiative is an online journal that maintains a high standard of peer review.

BMJ Resources*

All the above BMJ sites lead to their ‘Collected Resources.’
One of the several best collections of peer-reviewed articles on publication ethics available in full text on the web. British Healthcare Internet Association (BHIA) 
“Recommendations for Quality Standards for Medical Publishing on the Web;” not recently updated.

Centre for Enquiry into Health and Allied Themes (CEHAT)

This site contains the “Ethical Guidelines for Social Science Research in Health,” the product of a non-governmental effort coordinated by CEHAT and representative discussion between researchers and institutions all over India.
Detailed suggestions are made on the reporting and publication of research, and the rights and responsibilities of peer reviewers, referees, editors and publishers.

Clinical Research Workshops

“Human Subjects: An Introduction to Ethical and Practical Considerations; Publication and Authorship.”
This website provides material for workshops (with case studies) on various aspects of clinical research including publication and authorship— a collaborative effort by faculty members at the University of California, San Diego and the University of California, San Franscisco.

Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)*

An organization of British editors who review and discuss problem cases and promote guidelines on good publication practice. The best site for discussion of actual cases of fabricated data, plagiarism, authorship disputes, etc.

Council of Science Editors, Inc. (CSE)

The Council of Science Editors is a US-based, autonomous body serving the scientific, scientific publishing and information science communities. The CSE’s publications, including those on scientific style and format, are listed on the site and available on order.
The Editorial Policy Committee develops scientific editorial and publishing policies:

Danish Committee on Scientific Dishonesty

A site similar to that of COPE, for Danish research only.

European Association of Science Editors (EASE)

The Web site provides a publications and resource guides from EASE, which is comprised of editors and publishing professionals.

International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), a.k.a. Vancouver Group

The “Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals” and statements related to biomedical publication practices, endorsed and cited by over 500 journals worldwide (but probably observed by a tiny fraction of that).

Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)*

A complete set of excellent examples of instructions and guidelines for authors from JAMA.
Also hosts full text access to all the papers published in the Peer Review Congress issues since 1984 ( and, which contain many original research articles on publication ethics.

Journal of Medical Internet Research

Detailed instructions for authors including “Conflict of Interest” section.
“Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals.”
Useful links.

Lay Publication Codes of Conduct (Listed by Country and Topic)

A good source for finding publication ethics codes of various lay journalism organizations, in all areas of publication (not just health sciences). Recommendations for reporting on health issues specifically are listed here.

Medical College Of Ohio*

Lists links to Web sites that provide specific instructions to authors for over 3,000 journals in the health and life sciences. All links are to "primary sources," that is to publishers or organizations with editorial responsibilities for the titles.

National Library of Medicine (NLM)

An opportunity to search databases such as Pubmed, MEDLINE, for publications on ethics. Few direct resources on publication ethics.

New England Journal of Medicine

A modest collection of policies of the New England Journal of Medicine on common publication ethics issues (including authorship, conflict of interest, prepublication publicity, etc.

Office of Research Integrity (ORI)*

This office of the US government has issued some of the most detailed guidelines, instructional programs, and investigation reports into research misconduct, including publication issues, and published a guide for editors on how to handle allegations of misconduct.

On-line Ethics Center for Engineering and Science at Case Western Reserve University

Instructional resources and lectures in ethics (specifically for engineers and scientists) include discussions of the responsible collection, retention, sharing, and interpretation of data, responsible authorship, and responsibilities in the editing and reviewing of journals and grant applications.

On-Line Science Ethics Resources

A thorough list of science-ethics centers and programs, as well as: “Ethics Policies at Institutions,” “Professional Societies and Organizations,” “Guidelines for Authors, Editors, and Reviewers.”
Publication-ethics policies of disciplines not often covered by WAME discussions (e.g. mathematics, chemistry, physicis, psychology, etc.) can be found here.

Pharmaceutical Company Good Publication Practices Guidelines

Poynter Institute

This institute provides training for lay journalists. Includes a collection of essays by journalists on journalism ethics ( and, focussed on lay (not scientific) publication issues.

Society for Neuroscience

Guidelines for responsible conduct regarding scientific communication, a useful set of principles.
Web Resources on Publication and Research Ethics is provided with special thanks to Alexei Brovko, who was responsible for creating most of the list.

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