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If a journal requirements for patient's photograph say "Patient Photographic Authorization and Release form (when appropriate)", does this mean I must include patient's acceptance for publication of their photograph? If not, what does "when appropriate" really mean in their statement?

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    Does your paper include photographs of any patients? Did you get their consent to use these photographs in your paper? – Brian Borchers Nov 8 '16 at 0:50
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    yes, but in my institution's form, and i may not be able to reach some of the patients to get them to write the consent in the application form that the journal require. – Aalaa Elsadek Nov 8 '16 at 1:05
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    Contact someone at the journal. – J. Doe Nov 8 '16 at 9:31
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"when appropriate" means that you as a submitter are expected to know if including consent forms is appropriate/required for your research. By stating "when appropriate", the journal says it expects to receive those forms if consent is required for the photographs you are submitting.

Whether this is the case depends on the law, institute-specific regulations, and ethics. It is your job to be familiar with these rules if you work with photographs of patients. In fact, you should probably know what the rules are even before starting research where patient photographs are used.

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    Every institution has ethics procedures for that. If it doesn't, it should. Whether you can use patient's pictures is not your call to make. I strongly discourage coming up with some arbitrary procedure on your own. These procedures are there for a reason. Patients are vulnerable and, whether or not they are identifiable (who knows what further progress identification procedures will make in coming years), you need to make sure that the best action is taken to comply what is their likely and reasonable expectation of anonymity. – Captain Emacs Nov 12 '16 at 23:13
  • The question is about whether forms should be submitted to the journal, not about if patients' photos can be used with or without consent forms. My answer only referred to the submission itself. I did not mean that the author (person who submits the paper) decides whether the consent forms are necessary to have, but assumed that he already knows this and needs to judge whether the forms should be submitted for the research being published. Clearly there were some misunderstandings so I have tried to rephrase my answer to prevent this. – Louic Jun 14 at 19:22

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