Policies on Competing Interests, Human and Animal Rights, and Informed Consent

Competing interests

The Digital Health Conference (DH) requires authors to declare all competing interests in relation to their work. All submitted manuscripts must include a ‘competing interests’ section at the end of the manuscript listing all competing interests (financial and non-financial). Where authors have no competing interests, the statement should read “The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.”
Program chairs may ask for further information relating to competing interests. Program chairs and all program committee members are also required to declare any competing interests and will be excluded from the peer review process if a competing interest exists.

Competing interests may be financial or non-financial. A competing interest exists when the authors’ interpretation of data or presentation of information may be influenced by their personal or financial relationship with other people or organizations. Authors should disclose any financial competing interests but also any non-financial competing interests that may cause them embarrassment if they were to become public after the publication of the article.

Financial competing interests include (but are not limited to):

  • Receiving reimbursements, fees, funding, or salary from an organization that may in any way gain or lose financially from the publication of the article, either now or in the future.
  • Holding stocks or shares in an organization that may in any way gain or lose financially from the publication of the article, either now or in the future.
  • Holding, or currently applying for, patents relating to the content of the manuscript.
  • Receiving reimbursements, fees, funding, or salary from an organization that holds or has applied for patents relating to the content of the manuscript.
  • Non-financial competing interests
  • Non-financial competing interests include (but are not limited to) political, personal, religious, ideological, academic, and intellectual competing interests. If, after reading these guidelines, you are unsure whether you have a competing interest, please contact the Editor.

Authors from pharmaceutical companies, or other commercial organizations that sponsor clinical trials, should declare these as competing interests on submission. They should also adhere to the Good Publication Practice guidelines for pharmaceutical companies, which are designed to ensure that publications are produced in a responsible and ethical manner. The guidelines also apply to any companies or individuals that work on industry-sponsored publications, such as freelance writers, contract research organizations and communications companies. Digital Health Conference will not publish advertorial content.

Human and animal rights

All research must have been carried out within an appropriate ethical framework. If there is suspicion that work has not taken place within an appropriate ethical framework, Program Chairs will reject the manuscript, and/or contact the author(s)’ institution or ethics committee. On rare occasions, if the Program Chairs has serious concerns about the ethics of a study, the manuscript may be rejected on ethical grounds, even if approval from an ethics committee has been obtained.

Authors are strongly encouraged to seek approval from their Institutional Review Board (IRB) for performing a research project. If a study has not been submitted to an ethics committee prior to commencing, retrospective ethics approval usually cannot be obtained and it may not be possible to consider the manuscript for peer review. How to proceed in such cases is at the Program Chairs(s)’ discretion.

Privacy

IRB approval is not a strict requirement for accepting a paper describing research based solely on publicly available information found online in social media or other platforms, if that research meets a minimal risk standard, in the sense of researchers being able to guarantee that neither the probability of harm nor the magnitude of possible harm is greater than the one to which users of these platforms are exposed. Any information presented in the manuscript or available as datasets for research purposes must be anonymized, such that the individual identities cannot be identified.

Informed consent

For all research involving interaction with or manipulation of human subjects, informed consent to participate in the study should be obtained from participants (or their parent or guardian in the case of children under 16) and a statement to this effect should appear in the manuscript.

Human subjects research

Research involving human subjects, human material, or private human medical data, must have been performed in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki and must have been approved by an appropriate ethics committee. A statement detailing this, including the name of the ethics committee and the reference number where appropriate, must appear in all manuscripts reporting such research. If a study has been granted an exemption from requiring ethics approval, this should also be detailed in the manuscript (including the name of the ethics committee that granted the exemption). Further information and documentation to support this should be made available to Editors on request. Manuscripts may be rejected if the Editor considers that the research has not been carried out within an appropriate ethical framework. In rare cases, Editors may contact the ethics committee for further information.

Research on non-human animals

Experimental research on vertebrates or any regulated invertebrates must comply with institutional, national, or international guidelines, and where available should have been approved by an appropriate ethics committee. The Basel Declaration outlines fundamental principles to adhere to when conducting research in animals and the International Council for Laboratory Animal Science (ICLAS) has also published ethical guidelines.

A statement detailing compliance with relevant guidelines (e.g. the revised Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 in the UK and Directive 2010/63/EU in Europe) and/or ethical approval (including the name of the ethics committee and the reference number where appropriate) must be included in the manuscript. If a study has been granted an exemption from requiring ethics approval, this should also be detailed in the manuscript (including the name of the ethics committee that granted the exemption and the reasons for the exemption). The Editor will take account of animal welfare issues and reserves the right to reject a manuscript, especially if the research involves protocols that are inconsistent with commonly accepted norms of animal research. In rare cases, Editors may contact the ethics committee for further information.

For experimental studies involving client-owned animals, authors must also document informed consent from the client or owner and adherence to a high standard (best practice) of veterinary care.

Field studies and other non-experimental research on animals must comply with institutional, national, or international guidelines, and where available should have been approved by an appropriate ethics committee. A statement detailing compliance with relevant guidelines and/or appropriate permissions or licences must be included in the manuscript. We recommend that authors comply with the Convention on the Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and the IUCN Policy Statement on Research Involving Species at Risk of Extinction.

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