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Identification of ethics committees based on authors' disclosures: cross-sectional study of articles published in the European Journal of Anaesthesiology and a survey of ethics committees.

ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Since 2010, the European Journal of Anaesthesiology has required the reporting of five items concerning ethical approval in articles describing human research: ethics committee's name and address, chairperson's name, study's protocol number and approval date. We aimed to assess whether this requirement has helped to identify and to contact the referenced ethics committees. METHODS:In this cross-sectional study, we analysed articles requiring ethical approval, according to the Swiss federal law for human research and published in the European Journal of Anaesthesiology in 2011. Ethics committees were searched through our institutional Internet access based on information provided in the articles. The last search was performed in November 2015. Numbers (%) of items reported, of ethics committees identified, and of those that confirmed having provided ethical approval are reported. RESULTS:Of 76 articles requiring ethical approval, 74 (97%) declared it. Ethics committees' names and addresses were mentioned in 63/74 (85%), protocol numbers in 51/74 (69%), approval dates in 48/74 (65%), and chairpersons' names in 45/74 (61%). We could identify 44/74 (59%) committees; 36/74 (49%) answered our inquiry and 24/74 (32%) confirmed their role. Thirty-four of 74 articles (46%) reported all five items; in 25/34 (74%), we were able to identify an ethics committee, 18/34 (53%) answered our inquiry, and 15/34 (44%) confirmed their role. Forty of 74 articles (54%) reported ?4 items; in 19/40 (48%), we were able to identify an ethics committee, 18/40 (45%) answered our inquiry, and 9/40 (23%) confirmed their role. Reporting five items significantly increased identification of ethics committees (p?=?0.023) and their confirmation of ethical approval (p?=?0.048). Twelve of 74 ethics committees (16%) were unable to confirm their role in approving the study. CONCLUSIONS:Even when details concerning ethical approval were reported in these studies of human research, we were unable to identify almost half of the ethics committees concerned. The reporting of five items, compared with reporting ?4, was associated with facilitated identification of ethics committees, and increased the likelihood that they would be able to confirm the study's approval. Future research should identify which information facilitates identification of, and contact with, ethics committees.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC5994111 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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