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Ethical Principles of the Acoustical Society of America for Research
Involving Human and Non-Human Animals in
Research and Publishing and Presentations

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The Acoustical Society of America (ASA) has endorsed the following ethical principles associated with the use of human and non-human vertebrate animals in research, and for publishing and presentations. The principles endorsed by the Society primarily follow the form of those adopted by the American Psychological Association (APA), along with excerpts borrowed or modified from the Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences (CIOMS) and International Council for Laboratory Animal Science (ICLAS), and the American Institute of Physics Publishing (AIPP). The ASA acknowledges the difficulty in making ethical judgments, but the ASA wishes to set minimum socially accepted ethical standards for publishing in its journals and presenting at its meetings. These Ethical Principles are based on the principle that the individual author or presenter bears the responsibility for the ethical conduct of their research and its publication or presentation.

Authors of manuscripts submitted for publication in a journal of the ASA or presenting a paper at a meeting of the Society are obligated to follow the ethical principles of the Society. Failure to accept the ethical principles of the ASA shall result in the immediate rejection of manuscripts and/or proposals for publication or presentation. False indications of having followed the Ethical Principles of the ASA may be brought to the Ethics and Grievance Committee of the ASA.


I. USE OF HUMAN SUBJECTS IN RESEARCH-Applicable when human subjects are used in the research

The ASA endorses the view that all research involving human subjects requires approval by an existing appropriate governing authority (e.g., institutional review board [IRB], Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act [HIPPA], or by other governing authorities used in many countries) whose policies are consistent with the Ethical Principles of the ASA and adopts the requirement that all research must be conducted in accordance with an approved research protocol as a precondition for participation in ASA programs. If no such governing authority exists, the research should have met the following criteria:

Informed Consent

When obtaining informed consent from prospective participants in a research protocol, authors must have clearly and simply specified to the participants beforehand:

  1. The purpose of the research, the expected duration of the study, and all procedures that were to be used.
  2. The right of participants to decline to participate and to withdraw from the research in question after participation began.
  3. The foreseeable consequences of declining or withdrawing from a study.
  4. Anticipated factors that may have influenced a prospective participant's willingness to participate in a research project, such as potential risks, discomfort, or adverse effects.
  5. All prospective research benefits.
  6. The limits of confidentiality.
  7. Incentives for participation.
  8. Whom to contact for questions about the research and the rights of research participants. That office/person must have willingly provided an atmosphere in which prospective participants were able to ask questions and receive answers.

Authors conducting intervention research involving the use of experimental treatments must have clarified, for each prospective participant, the following issues at the outset of the research:

  1. The experimental nature of the treatment;
  2. The services that were or were not to be available to the control group(s), if appropriate;
  3. The means by which assignment to treatment and control groups were made;
  4. Available treatment alternatives if an individual did not wish to participate in the research or wished to withdraw once a study had begun; and
  5. Compensation for expenses incurred as a result of participating in a study including, if appropriate, whether reimbursement from the participant or a third-party payer was sought.

Informed Consent for Recording Voices and Images in Research

Authors must have obtained informed consent from research participants prior to recording their voices or images for data collection unless:

  1. The research consisted solely of naturalistic observations in public places, and it was not anticipated that the recording would be used in a manner that could have caused personal identification or harm, or
  2. The research design included deception. If deceptive tactics were a necessary component of the research design, consent for the use of recordings was obtained during the debriefing session.

Client/Patient, Student, and Subordinate Research Participants

When authors conduct research with clients/patients, students, or subordinates as participants, they must have taken steps to protect the prospective participants from adverse consequences of declining or withdrawing from participation.

Dispensing with Informed Consent for Research

Authors may have dispensed with the requirement to obtain informed consent when:

  1. It was reasonable to assume that the research protocol in question did not create distress or harm to the participant and involves
    a. The study of normal educational practices, curricula, or classroom management methods that were conducted in educational setting
    b. Anonymous questionnaires, naturalistic observations, or archival research for which disclosure of responses would not place participants at risk of criminal or civil liability or damage their financial standing, employability, or reputation, and confidentiality
    c. The study of factors related to job or organization effectiveness conducted in organizational settings for which there was no risk to participants'  employability, and confidentiality.
  1. Dispensation is permitted by law.
  2. Research involving the collection or study of existing data, documents, records, pathological specimens, or diagnostic specimens, if these sources are publicly available or if the information is recorded by the investigator in such a manner that subjects cannot be identified, directly or through identifiers linked to the subjects.

Offering Inducements for Research Participation

(a) Authors must not have made excessive or inappropriate financial or other inducements for research participation when such inducements are likely to coerce participation.

(b) When offering professional services as an inducement for research participation, authors must have clarified the nature of the services, as well as the risks, obligations, and limitations.

Deception in Research

(a) Authors must not have conducted a study involving deception unless they had determined that the use of deceptive techniques was justified by the study's significant prospective scientific, educational, or applied value and that effective non-deceptive alternative procedures were not feasible.

(b) Authors must not have deceived prospective participants about research that is reasonably expected to cause physical pain or severe emotional distress.

(c) Authors must have explained any deception that was an integral feature of the design and conduct of an experiment to participants as early as was feasible, preferably at the conclusion of their participation, but no later than at the conclusion of the data collection period, and participants were freely permitted to withdraw their data.


(a) Authors must have provided a prompt opportunity for participants to obtain appropriate information about the nature, results, and conclusions of the research project for which they were a part, and they must have taken reasonable steps to correct any misconceptions that participants may have had of which the experimenters were aware.

(b) If scientific or humane values justified delaying or withholding relevant information, authors must have taken reasonable measures to reduce the risk of harm.

(c) If authors were aware that research procedures had harmed a participant, they must have taken reasonable steps to have minimized the harm.

II. HUMANE CARE AND USE OF NON-HUMAN VERTEBRATE ANIMALS IN RESEARCH-Applicable when non-human vertebrate animals are used in the research

The advancement of science and the development of improved means to protect the health and well-being of both human and non-human vertebrate animals often require the use of animals in research, education, and testing. The ASA remains committed to ensuring the health and welfare of vertebrate animals used for these purposes. Vertebrate animal experiments should have been undertaken only after due consideration of the relevance for health, conservation, and the advancement of scientific knowledge. (Modified from the Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences (CIOMS) and International Council for Laboratory Animal Science (ICLAS) document: “International Guiding Principles for Biomedical Research Involving Animals-2012”).

The ASA endorses the view that all research involving non-human vertebrate animals, hereinafter referred as “animals”, requires approval by an existing appropriate governing authority (e.g., an institutional animal care and use committee [IACUC]) whose policies are consistent with the Ethical Principles of the ASA and adopts the requirement that all research must be conducted in accordance with an approved research protocol as a precondition for participation in ASA programs.  If no such governing authority exists, the research should meet the following criteria:

  1. Animals have been used only when necessary and when no alternative methods, such as non-animal approaches, mathematical models, or computer simulation, are available to achieve the scientific goals.
  2. Investigators have handled all animals in compliance with all current federal, state, and local laws and regulations, and with professional standards.
  3. Investigators have made all reasonable efforts to minimize the number of animals used in research to achieve the scientific goals.
  4. Investigators are experienced in the care of laboratory animals, supervise all procedures involving animals, ensure all subordinates who use animals have received proper training in methodology and animal care, and assume responsibility for the comfort, health, and humane treatment of experimental animals under all circumstances.
  5. The health and welfare of animals are the primary considerations in making decisions of animal care including acquisition, housing, veterinary care, and final disposition of animals.
  6. All surgical procedures have been conducted under appropriate anesthesia and followed techniques that avoided infection and minimized pain during and after surgery.
  7. Investigators have made all reasonable efforts to monitor and mitigate any possible adverse effects to animals as a result of the experimental protocol. Strategies to manage, mitigate, and minimize any pain and/or distress in animals should be developed in consultation with a qualified veterinarian or scientist. Animals that suffer chronic pain, distress or discomfort that cannot be relieved should be removed from the study and/or euthanized using a procedure appropriate for the species and condition of the animal.
  8. Investigators proceed to rapidly and humanely terminate an animal’s life when it is necessary and appropriate, always minimizing pain and always in accordance with accepted procedures as determined by a veterinarian and/or appropriate review board.

III. PUBLICATION and PRESENTATION ETHICS-For publications in ASA journals and presentations at ASA sponsored meetings

Statement of Ethics and Responsibilities

The mission of the ASA is to generate, disseminate, and promote the knowledge and practical applications of acoustics. To that end, it is essential that all authors of papers in ASA journals and presenters at ASA-sponsored meetings conduct themselves in accord with the highest level of professional ethics and standards.

By submitting a manuscript to an ASA journal, each author explicitly confirms that the manuscript meets the highest ethical standards. The same is required for material presented at meetings. Authors submitting to ASA journals should also adhere to the policies included in the particular journals’ Instructions for Contributors.

This section is mainly based on the policies of the American Institute of Physics Publishing.


Plagiarism is the unauthorized and unacknowledged use of someone else’s words, ideas, processes, data, or results in a manner that can mislead others into thinking the material is your own. Plagiarism can also be in the form of text recycling, also called self-plagiarism, where an author reuses portions of text from their own work that isn’t properly credited. Plagiarism or self-plagiarism constitutes unethical scientific behavior and is never acceptable.

Publication Credit

Authorship should be limited to those who have made a significant contribution to the concept, design, execution or interpretation of the research study. All those who have made significant contributions should be offered the opportunity to be listed as authors. The author who submits a paper for publication or an abstract for presentation and publication should ensure that all coauthors have seen the final version of the paper or abstract and have agreed to its submission. Other individuals who have contributed to the study should be acknowledged, but not identified as authors.

Proper acknowledgment of the work of others used in a research project must always be given. Information obtained privately, as in conversation, correspondence, or discussion with third parties, should not be used or reported without explicit permission from the investigator with whom the information originated. Information obtained in the course of confidential services, such as refereeing manuscripts or grant applications, cannot be used without permission of the author of the work being used.

Authors must obtain permission when reproducing or adapting any previously published materials from the original copyright holder. Proper credit lines for all previously published material must be included in the manuscript.

Reporting Research Results

The results of research should be recorded and maintained in a form that allows analysis and review, both by collaborators before publication and by other scientists for a reasonable period after publication. Exceptions may be appropriate in certain circumstances in order to preserve privacy, to assure patent protection, or for similar reasons.

Reporting Errors in Publication

All coauthors have an obligation to provide prompt retractions or correction of errors in published works.

Fabrication of Data and Selective Reporting of Data

Fabrication of data is an egregious departure from the expected norms of scientific conduct, as is the selective reporting of data with the intent to mislead or deceive, as well as the theft of data or research results from others.

Disclosure of Conflicts of Interest

A conflict of interest is anything that interferes with, or could reasonably be perceived as interfering with, the full and objective presentation of articles in the ASA journals and presentations at the ASA meetings. Author(s) have the obligation to disclose any personal interest or relationship that has the potential to be affected by publication of the submitted manuscript or presentation at ASA meeting:

  1. The complete affiliation(s) of each author and sources of funding for the published or presented research should be clearly described in the paper or publication abstract.
  2. If the publication or presentation of the research would directly lead to the financial gain of the author(s), then a statement to this effect must appear in the acknowledgment section of the paper or presentation abstract or in a footnote of a paper. Authors must report any financial interest in corporate or commercial entities dealing with the subject matter of the manuscript or presentation.
  3. If the research that is to be published or presented is in a controversial area and the publication or presentation presents only one view in regard to the controversy, then the existence of the controversy and this view must be provided in the acknowledgment section of the paper or presentation abstract or in a footnote of a paper. It is the responsibility of the author to determine if the paper or presentation is in a controversial area and if the person is expressing a singular view regarding the controversy.


Authors must submit corrections if conflicts of interests are revealed after publication.

Approved by the Executive Council on 9 December 2019.

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