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Wien Klin Wochenschr. 2004 Jul 31;116(14):500-3.

Reporting of ethical standards: differences between complementary and orthodox medicine journals?

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Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine, Korea.



This study aimed at assessing whether there are differences in the reporting of ethical aspects of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and mainstream medical research.


Review of published literature.


Research department of medical school.


Reports of ethical aspects including adherence to clinical guidelines, ethical approval from ethics committees, consent of the patient, declaration of conflict of interest, and declaration of funding for a study.


We included 21 articles from CAM journals, as well as 16 from equal impact factor mainstream (EIF) journals and 27 from high impact factor (HIF) journals. A statistically significant difference was found in the reporting of ethical approval: 62% of all CAM articles, 75% of the EIF and 93% of the HIF journal articles reported approval from ethics committees [chi2 = (2, n = 64) 6.631, p<0.05]. Regarding the reporting of obtaining patients' consent there were no statistically significant differences: 48% of all CAM articles, 38% of the EIF mainstream and 67% of the HIF mainstream journal articles explicitly stated that patients signed a consent form [chi2 = (2, n = 64) 3.813, p>.05]. High impact factor journals were more likely to report on ethical standards than other journals on conflicts of interests and sponsorship. However, they were less likely to report a reference to ethical guidelines. Articles from CAM journals had more strict reporting requirements than mainstream medicine journals with comparable impact factors.


Differences exist between complementary and orthodox medical journals in the reporting of ethical aspects of trial design.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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