Informed Consent

This guideline is appropriate for all types of studies that use humans as study subjects. If the studies are human-related, such as medical research or educational research, Insights Publisher requires the author(s) to read this guideline before submitting. As a result, this guideline applies to all three journals (Science Insights, Science Insights Education Frontiers, and Best Evidence in Chinese Education) published by Insights Publisher.


Definition of Informed Consent

One of the guiding principles of research ethics is informed consent. The goal is for human volunteers to enter research freely after receiving full information about what it means for them to participate and after giving their consent before doing so.

There should be no undue pressure on subjects to assent, and consent should be gained before the person enters the research. The participant must have a basic understanding of the research and what they are consenting to in order for their consent to be considered informed.

A typical consent process for capable people consists of two steps as below,

Step 1: providing information. The subject reflects on the information provided; he or she is not obligated to respond to the researcher right away.

Step 2: obtaining consent. The researcher restates the terms of the study, frequently in the form of distinct bullet points or sentences; the subject expressly consents to each term before consenting to participate in the project as a whole.


Oral or Written Informed Consent

Informed consent could be provided orally or in writing, depending on the study procedure and data categories. The explanations for both oral and written informed consent are provided below.


Oral Informed Consent

In an oral consent procedure, the researcher and participant have a dialogue in which information is provided and consent is obtained. There is no paperwork to sign. It is typically utilized when,

  • There is illiteracy.
  • There are cultural or political problems over the signing of contract-like agreements.
  • If either the researcher or the participant could be put at risk by the existence of a paper record.
  • Where time for consent is restricted, such as in the case of a chance encounter between the researcher and the participant.
  • For study performed using remote video conferencing software.
  • Survey of school-related educational topics with no need to sign consent paperwork.
  • If researchers do not directly interact with participants, like a research survey conducted online.
  • When no participant identifiers are collected.
  • When the research issue poses a negligible risk.
  • No sensitive personal data like criminal activity, racial or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, political or religious beliefs, physical or mental health, union membership, genetics, or sexual life are collected.


Written Informed Consent

Any scenario that would not be appropriate for oral informed consent should sign a written informed consent when,

  • There are no issues with reading and signing documents.
  • The research is complicated or involves several stages.
  • Access to the research participants requires the submission of document.


For Minor Participants

Most countries set the minority age at less than 18 years, however some jurisdictions set it higher and some lower. The term minority here refers to having fewer years than the term majority, which relates to the status of being a minor. Therefore, legally, Insights Publisher considered all individuals under the age of eighteen to be minors.

Children are people who might not be able to give free informed consent. To decide who should give permission for a child to take part in a certain piece of research, the child’s ability to understand and the risk the research poses for the child must be weighed. Whether or not a child is old enough to give permission to take part in research depends on how hard the project is and how old the child is. The situations below show who should give permission for the child to take part.

  • Child incompetent: Parent or legal guardian, whether or not the study puts the participant at risk.
  • Child competent: Parent, legal guardian, or child self if the study puts no risk to the participant, otherwise, parent or legal guardian.

Where children are deemed incompetent to consent to involvement in a particular research project, it is standard practice to inquire about their participation preferences. This perspective should be acquired beforehand and appreciated. Even if proper agreement has been obtained, the researcher must discontinue the research immediately if it causes discomfort to the child and must completely exclude the child from the study if the discomfort persists.

School-based research is a unique example. When conducting study in a school, the researcher must obtain permission from the head teacher. Teachers do not have parental responsibility for a specific child but may adopt care responsibilities, and they merely caring for the child at particular periods of the day. Despite their lack of parental authority, the head teacher may allow research on children in their school without requesting parental agreement for the children’s involvement; nevertheless, they must notify parents/legal guardians of the research and obtain permission or authorization.

For research involving children, Insights Publisher strictly adheres to the regulations established by the US Department of Health and Human Services.