Methods: A quantitative assessment of the articles published in each journal for the 2008 volume year was performed. Information collected included if the article involved human subject research, if it reported ethics board approval, and if informed consent was given to subjects. Data were collected as descriptive statistics (frequency counts and percentages).
Results: In aggregate, 50 articles of a total of 143 published involved human subject research (35%). 44 reported ethics board approval (88%), and 28 reported that informed consent had been obtained (56%). Forty-five percent of articles published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics involved human subject research (39/87), of which 95% reported ethics board approval (37/39) and 64% reported informed consent (25/39); 12.5% of articles from the Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association involved human subject research (5/40), of which 80% reported ethics board approval (4/5) and 40% reported informed consent (2/5); and 37.5% of articles published in Chiropractic and Osteopathy involved human subject research (6/16), of which 50% reported ethics board approval (3/6) and 17% reported informed consent (1/6).
Conclusion: Overall, most articles reported ethics approval, and more than half reported consent. This was harmonious with research on this topic from other disciplines. This situation indicates a need for continued quality improvement and for better instruction and dissemination of information on these issues to researchers, to manuscript reviewers, to journal editors, and to the readers.
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