Research Ethics Statement

All research published in the Indian Journal of Extension Education must have been conducted according to international and local guidelines ensuring ethically conducted research.

Research involving humans

All research studies on humans (individuals, samples, or data) must have been performed in accordance with the principles stated in the Declaration of Helsinki. Prior to starting the study, ethical approval must have been obtained for all protocols from the local Institutional Review Board (IRB) or other appropriate ethics committee to confirm the study meets national and international guidelines for research on humans. A statement to confirm this must be submitted as a separate file along with the manuscript, which must provide details of the name of the ethics committee and reference/permit numbers where available. Although subject matter related to clinical trials is out of the scope of the Indian Journal of Extension Education but still where the research involves an intervention (e.g. a clinical trial), participants must provide informed written consent to be part of the study. A statement to confirm this must be submitted with the manuscript. Authors must be prepared to provide signed and dated copies to the journal editorial team if requested. In studies where verbal informed consent has been obtained rather than written informed consent, this must be explained and stated properly.

In addition to the required informed written consent (as stated above), clinical trial protocols must also be registered in a publicly accessible registry prior to participant recruitment. The public registry must be open to all prospective registrants and managed by a not-for-profit organization. We can only accept trial registrations from registries approved by the WHO and ICMJE as these have met mandatory requirements and are found to be trustworthy, give sufficient details, accessible, and provide adequate version controls. A list of eligible registries can be found at the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP). Trials can also be registered at Clinical Trials.gov or the EU Clinical Trials Register.

Human dignity

All human beings, living and deceased, should be treated with dignity and respect in academic research. Ethical research practices require that researchers are vigilant in ensuring that their work minimizes risk and avoids harm to participants. Special consideration should be given to protecting the dignity and well-being of vulnerable participants, including but not limited to children, refugees, asylum seekers, migrants, vulnerable or institutionalized persons, or anyone who may lack the capacity to provide informed consent.
Research involving children and adolescents: Written informed consent must be obtained from the parent/guardian of participants who are not legally adults, except in rare cases where children can provide consent on their own (e.g., emancipated minors). The age of legal adulthood is determined by the country where study participants are based. Ideally, researchers should also seek assent from children, where possible. A statement to confirm informed consent has been obtained must be submitted with the manuscript.

In settings where verbal informed consent has been obtained rather than written informed consent, this must be explained and stated clearly.

Research involving animals

Experiments involving vertebrates or regulated invertebrates, field studies, and other non-experimental research on animals must have been carried out in accordance with institutional, national, or international guidelines, and with the approval of an appropriate ethics committee where available. Where applicable, a statement of ethics approval, or animal licenses should be submitted with the manuscript. Where a study has been granted an exemption from requiring ethical approval, this should be stated along with the name of the ethics committee that provided the exemption, and the reasons for the exemption.

For non-human primate studies, it must be demonstrated the work meets the standards set out in the NC3Rs primate’s guidelines and follows best practice procedures. For experimental studies involving client-owned animals, authors must also document informed consent from the client or owner and adherence to best practices of veterinary care. We endorse the principles of ethical animal research outlined in the Basel Declaration and the ethical guidelines by the International Council for Laboratory Animal Science (ICLAS).

Research involving plants

Research on plants (cultivated or wild), including the collection of plant material must be carried out in accordance with guidelines provided by the authors’ institution(s) and national or international regulations. Field studies should comply with local legislation, and the manuscript should include a statement of appropriate permissions granted and/or licences. Voucher specimens must be deposited in a public herbarium or other public collection providing access to deposited material. Information on the voucher specimen and who identified it must be included in the manuscript.

Research on threatened/endangered species

Authors are advised to comply with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) policies research involving species at risk of extinction (see Guidelines for appropriate uses of IUCN Red list data), the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the Convention on the Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

Survey studies

Researchers must ensure they have informed all participants why the research is being conducted, whether or not anonymity is assured, and how the data they are collecting is being stored. The participant’s right to confidentiality should always be considered and they should be fully informed about the aims of the research and if there are any risks associated. Their voluntary consent to participate should be recorded and any legal requirements on data protection should be adhered to. As with all research studies, ethics approval from an appropriate IRB/local ethics committee must be obtained prior to conducting the study. A statement to confirm this must be included within the manuscript. In settings where ethics approval for survey studies is not required, authors must include a statement to explain this within the manuscript.

Covert observational research

Covert observational research requires particular ethical and legal considerations but may be acceptable in rare cases with a strong justification. Researchers must also consider the emerging legal frameworks surrounding rights to privacy, which vary considerably across the globe. Authors conducting covert research should consult relevant guidelines, such as those outlined in the British Sociological Association’s Statement of Ethical Practice.

All studies that include covert research must include the following:
• A statement providing a full rationale for the covert nature of the research and the name of the ethics committee(s) that approved the study (and include the reference/permit numbers where available).
• If the study takes place on a social media platform (such as Facebook), researchers should consult the platform’s code of conduct and/or terms of use to determine whether they need the platform’s permission to include user data in their research.

  • The use of aliases or online personas should be declared.
  • Ideally, researchers should seek informed consent from the study participants after completion of the study.

Please note that journal editors and the publisher reserve the right to deem covert research unsuitable for consideration in their journal.

“Helicopter” or “Parachute” Research

Research conducted abroad carries particular ethical implications, particularly when researchers based in high-income countries undertake projects in resource-poor settings. To this end, researchers are encouraged to obtain ethics approval from local institutions, including local participants, researchers, and communities throughout the research process, and include local collaborators/volunteers who meet the threshold for inclusion as an author (or mention them in the acknowledgments if they do not).

Researchers are also encouraged to include a statement explaining how they considered their impact on the environment/local population, and why it was unavoidable that they had to perform the study in that location. Further recommendations that can be considered are available at A Global Ethics Code.

Research on Indigenous communities

Authors should be aware of any specific research ethics approval procedures that need to be followed in order to conduct research in communities where restrictions or special processes may exist. Authors should also be aware of cultural sensitivities or restrictions associated with any images included in their manuscripts. In the Aboriginal Australian culture, for example, additional approval may need to be sought from a community elder. Authors working with these communities are advised to consult the AIATSIS Guidelines for ethical publishing. 

Social Media Research

Scholars using data gathered from social media platforms (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, etc.) should be aware of national laws and ethical guidance on the gathering of and publication of such information. When researchers are interacting with individuals or obtaining private information, they should obtain ethical approval. Researchers should also ensure appropriate anonymization and obtain informed consent from anyone who could potentially be identified.

Not all data can be collected for fair use or a copyright exception. Authors must check the social media platform’s user policy or terms of service in the region where the research was conducted to determine whether permission is required from the platform. Authors are advised to consult appropriate guidance such as the ethics statement and framework from the Social Data Science Lab and the ethical guidelines for digital research from the British Sociological Association.

For non-interventional studies (e.g. surveys), where ethical approval is not required (e.g. because of national laws), or where a study has been granted an exemption by an ethics committee, it should be clearly stated in the proforma to be submitted with the manuscript with a full explanation. Where a study has been granted the exemption, the name of the ethics committee that provided this should also be included. However, if the researcher is in doubt, they should always seek advice from the relevant department before conducting the study.

Non-stigmatizing and non-discriminatory language should be used when describing different groups by race, ethnicity, age, disease, disability, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, etc. Human studies categorized by such groupings should include an explanation of the definitions and categories, including whether any rules of human categorization were required by the relevant funding agencies.

Ethics approval for all studies must be obtained before the research is conducted. Authors must be prepared to provide further information to the journal editorial office upon request.

The sample performa may be used for this purpose. (The PDF copy may be downloaded from https://epubs.icar.org.in/index.php/IJEE/libraryFiles/downloadPublic/id