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Comparison of instructions to authors and reporting of ethics components in selected African Biomedical Journals: 2008 and 2017.

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Journal editors are expected to provide instructions to prospective authors to describe human participants’ protection measures before, during and after data collection for any original research. However, little is known about authors' adherence to editors’ instructions in African biomedical or health journals. Therefore, the study was designed to review and investigate changes in editors’ instructions to authors and authors’ reporting of research ethics information, based on the recommendations of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (2018) and Committee on Publication Ethics (2018) in selected African biomedical journals between the years 2008 and 2017. A review of twelve selected African biomedical journal websites and online articles were reviewed in Eastern, Southern, and Western African [ESWA] countries. Data were collected using a pretested schema and checklist from the selected journal websites, and online articles published in 2008 and 2017 were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. Findings showed that more than half of the journals (58.3%) mentioned elements of ICMJE and COPE guidelines in their instruction to authors. Half of the editors requested prospective authors to disclose ethics approval issues in their manuscripts. One-third of the journals (33.3%) requested information from authors on informed consent. Only 16.7% of the journals assessed requested information on protecting research participants from prospective authors. There was a significant increase in the instructions to authors on the request for information on the protection of research participants between 2008 and 2017. Instructions to authors in the selected journals showed requests for information on ethics approval, informed consent, and human participant protection as requirements for publishing in 2008. There was an improvement in these requirements in 2017, and more authors complied with these requirements.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.