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Research standards violations

Research standards violations normally come to light when a referee sees that there was no informed consent on human subjects, or that  animal protection protocols were not  followed for a piece of research.

It is somewhat more difficult with animal protection, as different countries (e.g. USA) and geo-political regions (e.g. European Union) have different standards from official organisations such as the World Health Organisation (WHO).

If doubt exists whether the research was conducted in accordance with the relevant national or international guidelines, the authors must explain the rationale for their approach, and demonstrate that the institutional review body explicitly approved the doubtful aspects of the study. When reporting experiments on animals, authors should be asked to indicate whether the institutional and national guide for the care and use of laboratory animals was followed.

COPE flowcharts

These are available for a second opinion (*) .  This is often the time for the editor to discuss the case with his/her publishing contact within Elsevier and agree what action, if any, needs to be taken.