Call for Papers! The Ethics of Research addressing COVID-19 related Health Inequities

  • Original papers (5000-8000 words), or Perspectives or Analyses (2000-4000 words)
  • Submission deadline: 31 May 2021
  • Special Issue of March 2022

Strong evidence has emerged of the disproportionate health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on vulnerable groups leading to a widening of existing health inequities. This effect may be more pronounced in low- and middle-income countries. Exacerbation of inequalities may occur, for example, from pre-existing unjust systemic policies that affect health access as well as structural and life-style factors that prevent at-risk communities from achieving proper social distancing practices. These concerns emphasize the need for health equity research investigating measures, be it health, social or political, that can be implemented in an effective and equitable manner and without discrimination.

This call invites Original papers consisting of 5000 to 8000 words and Perspective or Analysis papers of 2000 to 4000 words on any ethics-related subject matter that seeks to promote health equity research in the wake of the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on pre-existing vulnerabilities and unjust social/health practices.

This Call is linked with a virtual workshop that took place in late November 2020 (Advancing Research Ethics in Asia and the Pacific) involving researchers, members of research ethics committees and policy makers in the Asia-Pacific region at which the following topics were highlighted:

  • Addressing health inequities through research in the time of COVID-19 
  • Ethics of research involving vulnerable populations with a focus on migrants, refugees and stateless persons
  • Ethical issues involving and engaging vulnerable communities in research
  • Ethical issues regarding implementation research involving COVID-19
  • Implementation of policies that addresses pre-existing unjust social processes

The deadline for submission of eligible papers via has been extended until Monday 31 May 2021.

All papers submitted to the Asian Bioethics Review as part of this Call will go through an initial assessment according to the following procedures, before those judged most likely to make an original and significant contribution to the field are selected for double-blind peer review in line with the policies of the journal.

If accepted after review and revision, papers will be included in a Special Issue of the Asian Bioethics Review in March 2022, which will likely include 4 to 5 Original Articles and 4 to 5 Perspective or Analysis papers, subject to standard word limits in the House Style of the Asian Bioethics Review. 

A Selection Panel of up to five members will conduct an initial assessment of submitted papers, scored according to the selection criteria below. The panel will consist of the Editor-in-Chief, Assistant Editor, and Guest Editors for this Special Issue. The membership of the Panel will reflect the journal’s commitment to diversity. The names of the selection panel will be published in due course.

Selection Criteria (with scoring on a scale of 1-5): 

  1. Fit to theme – How well does the paper address the central research questions of the theme?
  2. Originality – How well does the paper engage with new and/or complex problems, provide new empirical material; and/or advance theory or the analysis of doctrine, policy or practice?
  3. Significance – How far does the contribution of the paper advance the field and/or thinking in the area?
  4. Rigour – How robust are the research methods and/or logical argument used to deliver the original contribution?
  5. Fit to the journal – How far does the paper reflect the core objectives of the Asian Bioethics Review, including its commitment to equality and diversity in publishing?

Conflicts of Interest:  The Selection Panel will declare any potential conflicts of interest in reviewing work, including perceptions of conflict. In cases where there is a concern about conflict of interest, panel members will recuse themselves from the assessment and selection process for the paper in question.

Timetable: Final decisions on this selection process will be made no later than 30 June 2021, with authors informed as soon as possible thereafter. Selected papers will then be sent for full peer review in the usual process followed by the journal.

Feedback: All authors who submit their paper to the Call will receive feedback from the initial selection process. While some papers might not be selected for the Special Issue, this does not preclude an invitation to resubmit them to the journal with a revision that incorporates the feedback. 

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