DETAILS of RULES AND GUIDELINES FOR RESPONSIBLE CONDUCT OF RESEARCH WITH EXPERIMENTAL ANIMALS
A) GENERAL PROVISIONS
RULES AND GUIDELINES FOR RESPONSIBLE CONDUCT OF RESEARCH WITH EXPERIMENTAL ANIMALS of the SKUMS defines protected animal species, experimental procedures (ethical and unethical), principles of ethical experimental work with animals, training of the researchers for such work, Ethical Committee for Work with Experimental Animals of the SKUMS, Iran (its tasks, work principles, composition and way of forming, Ethical Committee further in the text), the procedure of getting the license to work with experimental animals by the Ethical Committee, as well as the procedures in case of neglect of the rules set by the Ethical Committee and decisions adopted based on the Rules.
B) PROTECTED ANIMAL SPECIES AND EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURES
Protected species are vertebrates (experimental animals further in the text), except for the humans, including all developmental stages from the middle of gestation.
Ethical experimental procedures are those that involve the procedures of manipulation of experimental animals aiming to obtain new knowledge in the biomedicine field and thus to contribute to the general development of medicine and which could cause suffering, pain, and permanent disability of experimental animals (disease, injury, stress, etc).
Ethical experimental procedures involve also the purposeful sacrificing of experimental animals in order to get isolated organs or sacrificing at the end of the experiment.
Sacrificing methods must not cause suffering and pain. Death has to be instantaneous (the procedures that satisfy these criteria are the administration of a triple dose of an intravenous anesthetic, inhalation of the appropriate mixture of gases in special chambers, cervical dislocation, decapitation, etc).
Non-ethical experimental procedures are those manipulations with experimental animals which could cause pain, suffering, permanent damage, or death, and are not aimed at creating new knowledge in biomedical sciences and do not contribute to the development of medicine. Among these procedures, we may include demonstrations of already known facts on experimental animals, except when the involvement of animals is unavoidable for the achievement of educative goals. Instead of this, computer simulations or other didactic devices are recommended. The use of animals in practical teaching, in exceptional cases when educational goals cannot be achieved otherwise, is possible at the SKUMS after the request of the performing teacher and the approvement of the department in question, only with special permission of the Ethical Committee (issued for a specific time) and with respect to the stipulations of the Rules.
The Rules does not consider the procedures of marking of experimental animals which can cause momentary pain, investigation of new veterinary agents and other veterinary diagnostic and treatment procedures.
In planning experimental work with animals it is necessary to respect the following ethical principles. Principle of replacement: whenever possible instead of experimenting on a protected species, we should use alternative experimental models in vitro (eg. cell cultures, isolated organs, microorganisms) and computer simulations; Principle of reduction: using the smallest possible number of experimental animals, according to the statistical requirements; Principle of quality: use of healthy animals, appropriate species and age, properly kept and if possible in kinship. It is mandatory to use appropriate statistical methods in the evaluation of results. Only appropriately trained investigators should be included in experimental work with animals. Experimental protocols have to predict the scientifically valid answers to the research goals.
Researchers should be appropriately trained to work with experimental animals. The required qualification degree depends on the experimental protocol itself. Researchers have to submit the confirmation that they are trained to work with experimental animals. This could be a certificate of the course attended at the SKUMS or any related scientific/research institution in the country or abroad, with similar or stricter regulations from those contained in the rules.
All studies involving human subjects or human tissue must be in accordance with the principles set out in the Declaration of Helsinki and must have been formally approved by the appropriate institutional review board, ethical review committee, or equivalent. All manuscripts should indicate that such approval was obtained. The study populations should be described in detail. In many studies details of age, race, and sex are important. In experiments involving any significant risk or discomfort to subjects, it should be documented that informed consent was obtained from the subjects and that an institutional human research committee had approved the investigations. In-text, tables and figures of subjects must be identified by number or letter rather than by initials or names. Photographs of patients' faces should be included only if scientifically relevant. Authors should obtain written consent from the patient for use of such photographs.
ETHICAL GUIDELINES FOR PUBLICATION OF RESEARCH IN JOURNALS of SKUMS
The Editorial Board is keenly aware of the importance of formulating and disseminating rules of good conduct for authors, reviewers, and editors. Equally important is the establishment of due process for alleged or apparent improprieties. The Ethical Committee of The SKUMS has approved the following Ethical Guidelines for our Editorial Board, reviewers, and authors submitting manuscripts. The following statement is not meant to be all-inclusive but is provided in sufficient detail to give a clear understanding of ethical considerations to all concerned.
The fundamentals of good conduct as they apply to research are honesty, fairness, good manners, and the subordination of self-interest to the common interest of our profession. In these notes, the Editorial Board sets forth its rules of good conduct for authors, reviewers, and editors.
Obligations of Authors
An author should have participated in either the conception or planning of the work, the interpretation of the results, and the writing of the paper. An acknowledgment accompanying the paper is appropriate recognition for others who have contributed to a lesser extent, e.g., provision of clones, antisera, or cell lines, or reading and reviewing manuscripts in the draft. The signature of each author on the Affirmation of Originality and Copyright Release form that must be submitted with the manuscript indicates that all authors have had a part in the writing and final editing of the report, all have been given a copy of the manuscript, all have approved the final version of the manuscript, and all are prepared to take public responsibility for the work, sharing responsibility and accountability for the results.
The foremost obligation of an author is to present a clear, honest, accurate, and complete account of the research performed. Each manuscript should describe a complete study or a completed phase of an extended study. Fragmentation of reports should be avoided. When some of the results are to appear in another journal, in publications of congresses, symposia, workshops, etc., details plus a copy of the other paper(s) should be supplied to the editor. Any preliminary accounts or abstracts of the work, already published, must be referenced in the complete report.
The author has an obligation to: 1) describe the work in sufficient detail to allow others to repeat the work; 2) adhere to the journals' policy regarding the preparation of digital images as outlined below; 3) include all relevant data, including those which may not support the hypothesis being tested; 4) cite those publications which have a direct bearing on the novelty and interpretation of the results; 5) make unique resources available to other investigators for academic research purposes, as a condition of publication. The SKUMS endorses the philosophy of open exchange of research materials and requires this; 6) ensure no substitution, addition, or deletion of data or text during the proof correction process (after acceptance). Answers to author queries and changes to typographical or printer errors may be made to proofs. Any other changes will require that the proofs be returned to the editorial office for re-review of the manuscript; 7) If there are any additions, deletions, or changes in the position of the names that appear in the authorship line of the originally submitted manuscript, the corresponding author must send to the Editorial Board a brief letter, signed by all authors, stating that they agree to the change.
When preparing digital images, authors must adhere to the following guidelines (as stated in Reference 8):
- No specific feature within an image may be enhanced, obscured, moved, removed, or introduced.
- Adjustments of brightness, contrast, or color balance are acceptable if they are applied to the entire image and as long as they do not obscure, eliminate, or misrepresent any information present in the original.
- The grouping of images from different parts of the same gel, or from different gels, fields, or exposures must be made explicit by the arrangement of the figure (e.g., dividing lines) and in the figure legend.
Deviations from these guidelines will be considered as potential ethical violations.
Note that this is an evolving issue, but these basic principles apply regardless of changes in the technical environment. Authors should be aware that they must provide original images when requested to do so by Editors-in-Chief who may wish to clarify an uncertainty or concern