Modern approaches for research with human biospecimens employ a variety of substantially different types of ethics approval and informed consent. In most cases, standard ethics reporting such as “consent and approval was obtained” is no longer meaningful. A structured analysis of 120 biospecimen studies recently published in top journals revealed that more than 85% reported on consent and approval, but in more than 90% of cases, this reporting was insufficient and thus potentially misleading. Editorial policies, reporting guidelines, and material transfer agreements should include recommendations for meaningful ethics reporting in biospecimen research. Meaningful ethics reporting is possible without higher word counts and could support public trust as well as networked research.
Chin, W. W. L., Wieschowski, S., Prokein, J., Illig, T., & Strech, D. (2016). Ethics Reporting in Biospecimen and Genetic Research: Current Practice and Suggestions for Changes. PLoS Biology, 14(8), e1002521. http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.1002521