Authors : Tove Godskesen, Knut Jørgen Vie, William Bülow, Bodil Holmberg, Gert Helgesson, Stefan Eriksson
This study explores how papers published in international journals in palliative and end-of-life care report ethical approval and informed consent. A literature search following PRISMA guidelines was conducted in PubMed, the Web of Science Core Collection, Scopus, the ProQuest Social Science Premium Collection, PsycINFO, and the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL). A total of 169 empirical studies from 101 journals were deductively coded and analysed.
The results showed that 5% of publications provided no information on ethical approval, 12% reported minimal information, 56% reported rudimentary information, and 27% reported comprehensive details. We also found that 13% did not report any information on informed consent, 17% reported minimal information, 50% reported rudimentary information, and 19% reported comprehensive details.
The prevalence of missing and incomplete ethical statements and inadequate reporting of informed consent processes in recent publications raises concerns and highlights the need for improvement. We suggest that journals advocate high reporting standards and potentially reject papers that do not meet ethical requirements, as this is the quickest path to improvement.