Int J Sports Med 2015; 36(14): 1121-1124
DOI: 10.1055/s-0035-1565186
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Ethical Standards in Sport and Exercise Science Research: 2016 Update

D. J. Harriss
1   Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University
G. Atkinson
2   Health and Social Care Institute, Teesside University
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
15 December 2015 (online)

For publication in the International Journal of Sports Medicine (IJSM), studies involving human participants or animals must have been conducted in accordance with recognised ethical standards and national/international laws. At the very first submission stage, authors are required to confirm that these standards and laws have been adhered to by reading, and formally citing, this editorial within the methods section of their own manuscript. Authors who do not provide any information regarding ethical approval will have their manuscripts rejected before it enters the peer-review process, without any option to resubmit.

In the 21st Century, research opportunities, approaches and environments are in a continual state of flux, and this is also the case for the associated ethical issues. In the original 2009 IJSM editorial [3], we described the ethical considerations embedded into national/international laws and provided specific guidance on the ethical issues which commonly arise in Sports Medicine research. In 2011, this information was updated to recognise the ethical principles of other professional associations and treaties when conducting research involving human participants [4]. Additional information was also provided on the use of Laboratory Animals in research, and on the links between sample size and research ethics. In the second update, published in 2014, we elaborated on the ethical issues relating to the investigation of doping agents; the use of animals for answering research questions that appear to be solely focussed on the enhancement of athletic performance; and sample size in the context of the burden to individual research participants.

In this, our new update for 2016 onwards, we;

  • Update some of the guidelines to account for the changes made to the Declaration of Helsinki in 2013.

  • Cover the use of social media in research

  • Provide guidance on how researchers can feed back their incidental and pertinent findings to research participants

  • Cover some of the issues relating to studies involving children

  • Outline the difference between a full and pilot study in terms of desired number of particpants.

  • Describe good practice points on the storage of data