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Compliance with ethical standards in the reporting of donor sources and ethics review in peer-reviewed publications involving organ transplantation in China: a scoping review
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  • Published on:
    Response to Heather Machin and the Global Alliance of Eye Bank Associations

    We thank Heather Machin for her thoughtful response to our paper. We congratulate the Global Alliance of Eye Bank Associations for their ethical stance and for taking measures to try to ensure that donated ocular material has been ethically procured. Barcelona Principle 9 regarding research and publication specifies a high standard, and if followed, would help to guarantee ethical practice in published research from the eye bank sector. It would be interesting to hear of examples of good practice where researchers have taken steps to verify the provenance of tissues from particular eye banks, and also to hear of any mechanisms adopted by journals to confirm that research was performed only on ethically procured materials. Have any instances of unethical practice been identified?
    We hope that this initiative by the eye banking community to ensure high ethical standards will serve as an example to other areas of organ and tissue procurement. Any publication of research on unethically procured human materials undermines trust in the organ and tissue sector, taints the literature, and facilitates ongoing harm to those whose tissues and organs are procured without consent.

    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.
  • Published on:
    Contested organ-obtainment methods in published transplant-research: A timely reminder to those in the affiliated ocular field.

    We reflect on the Rogers et al, [1] paper, published in BMJ Open, which examined the contested ethical compliance of published transplant research, using human organ donors in China, and the call to retract over 400 published papers.
    Seeing that Rogers et al. did not examine other substances of human origin, such as ocular tissue, and only examined the donation conduct of one nation with contested donation practices, we are left wondering if our own eye health and vision science sector, at the global level, would withstand such rigor, if a similar examination of ocular tissue use was conducted. Could our sector be swept up in such controversy, and would that controversy be isolated to one nation? Would our activities and practices, our global research collaborations and our transnational movement of human tissue leave our sector open to scrutiny? Would it challenge the validity of our transplant research in our sub-specialty journals, or discourage governments, investors and philanthropic stakeholders and organizations from engaging with the eye health and vision science sector, regardless of the nation or the degree of contestable activity?
    Rogers et al., further highlight the need for sectorial compliance with bioethical principles, and the responsibilities of academic editorial boards to confirm the origins and acquisition practices of submitted transplant research that involves human donors, and particularly those concerning deceased donors.
    To that...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.