An institutional review board (IRB) approved a study. I wrote a paper reporting results from the study. Do I need to mention in the paper that an IRB approved this study?

  • 1
    I have seen such mentions in the acknowledgement section of papers. It may be required by your funding agency or the journal - you should check with them. I presume it makes it perfectly transparent that the study went through an IRB process.
    – Jon Custer
    Sep 21, 2016 at 16:50

3 Answers 3


It depends on the journal. For example, the Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development instructions for authors state:

appropriate institutional review board (IRB) review and approval should accompany all studies involving human participants or research material derived from human participants. This information should be clearly stated in the Method section of the manuscript. In addition, the manner in which informed consent was obtained from the study participants (i.e., oral, written, online/electronic) should also be stated in the Method section. If the study was exempted from IRB approval, that information should be indicated in the Method section. Failure to provide this information in the manuscript may result in the manuscript being returned without review.

Nature takes a different approach and does not require the IRB approval to be mentioned in the text (and may not even allow it), but does provide a checklist, that the author must complete and is provide to reviewers, that deals with IRB approval.

  • Pretty much this. It's often a journal specific policy.
    – Fomite
    Sep 22, 2016 at 0:32

If a journal submission is based on an IRB-approved study, follow the above JMCD instructions. If the guidelines do not specify it is better to err on the side of caution and not risk ending up as a case for COPE (Committee on Publishing Ethics ;). Imprecise methodology and lack of transparency are stumbling blocks for many a journal submission: your study and paper are important and you should dot every "i" and cross each "t".

Sources: APA publishing tips - https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/resources/publishing-tips ICMJE - https://www.icmje.org/ COPE - https://publicationethics.org/


Many journals have predefined language that you must use. In the US, directions often specify that you much describe the IRB review as adhering to the ethical standards described in the Belmont Report. I seem to recall that European Journals often require a description that the IRB review adhere to the standards described in the Declaration of Helsinki.

I'm sure there are exceptions. The real determination will be prominent in a journal's Instructions to Authors (which should always be thoroughly read).

That said, unless you're fighting about some some or page or word count cap, I really can't think of a reason why you wouldn't want to describe this in print.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .