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Role Profile - Advisor, BMJ Ethics Committee

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  • Role Profile - Advisor, BMJ Ethics Committee

Role Profile - Advisor, BMJ Ethics Committee

This Role Profile describes the details of your role.  Unless otherwise defined herein, expressions used in these Terms shall have the meaning set out in your Letter of Appointment.  References to BMJ (us, our, we) shall mean BMJ Publishing Group Limited.  

Click here to download a copy of this Role Profile.

1. Overview

During your appointment you shall:

1.1 clarify, review and develop BMJ’s editorial policies on issues such as: 1.1.1 material arising from the doctor patient relationship; 1.1.2 competing interests for authors, reviewers, editors and other members of the Committee; 1.1.3 prior disclosure of results to research participants; 1.1.4 editors’ duty of confidentiality to authors;

1.2 contribute to the formulation of new editorial policies for BMJ’s publications;

1.3 advise BMJ’s editors on ethics questions that arise during routine editorial work including scrutinising manuscripts submitted by editors or peer-reviewers who have a concern about some aspect of the conception, design, conduct, presentation, authorship, peer-review or other matter connected to that paper;

1.4 provide advice to BMJ’s editors on their moral duties and responsibilities to patients, research participants, authors, reviewers, publishers, other editors and readers;

1.5 provide assistance to BMJ’s editors to enhance the coverage of bioethics in BMJ publications; 

1.6 assist BMJ’s editors to stay informed of developments in research and publication ethics;

1.7 provide advice relevant to your speciality for issues and complaints brought to the Committee by BMJ staff for the Committee’s consideration and opinion;

1.8 act as a second line of expert support to BMJ’s skilled team of staff (supplementing advice provided by BMJ’s legal and other professional advisors); and

1.9 provide a second opinion on individual issues and/or complaints as may be required.

2. Communications

2.1 You will lead by example and set a tone and manner for the Committee including any communication issued for or on its behalf (whether published online or other media formats) which is:

2.1.1 respectful and polite;

2.1.2 truthful, transparent and honest (for example, it should be clear who is making the statement and what their position is in relation to the Committee);

2.1.3 accurate and substantial;

2.1.4 appropriate – for example, the following will not be acceptable in any circumstances: (a)  harassment or bullying; (b) obscenity; (c) anything which is discriminatory or which would otherwise contravene our policies on equality and diversity; (d)  anything libellous (or which we reasonably believe could lead to legal action being taken against the Journal and/or us); and (e) anything which is in any way illegal (for example, inciting racial hatred, contempt of court, breach of intellectual property rights);

2.1.5 sensitive of our stance concerning: (a) equality, diversity and inclusion; (b) editorial independence and the need to be completely transparent, particularly in relation to any commercial relationship between you and any third party (including advertising or sponsorship); (c) tobacco products (including products and services from tobacco companies, their foundations, or their wholly owned subsidiaries); (d) products making therapeutic claims which are not substantiated in a full length research paper published in a peer reviewed journals; and (e) breast milk substitutes.

2.2 You must promptly notify your POC if you become aware of any external media coverage  (including any media coverage opportunity) in relation to either BMJ, any of its content, any author published by BMJ, the Committee or any member of it.  You undertake not to participate in any such media coverage without our prior written consent (to be determined by us in our absolute discretion).  To the extent that we authorise or ask you to participate in any media coverage, you agree to work with our in-house media relations team and to follow their directions.

2.3 You agree to promptly refer to your POC any media enquiries and/or requests from third parties which you may receive. 


3. Strategy

During your appointment you shall provide:

3.1 strategic advice on BMJ’s policy stance on ethical issues which are relevant to your area of expertise;

3.2 provide recommendations for new matters for consideration; and

3.3 input on strategic and tactical plans to promote BMJ’s ethical practices and processes.

4. Editorial

During your appointment you shall provide:

4.1 ethical expertise to help ensure that BMJ’s policies and processes reflect best ethical practice;

4.2 timely advice on the ethical implications of new policies and procedures, particularly where it may have practice-changing implications across BMJ;

4.3 your expert opinion where evidence is conflicting or lacking and where there may be inconsistencies between topics;

4.4 advice on key evidence sources to inform BMJ’s ethical stance and policy; and

4.5 notice to us of any upcoming significant developments in your specialty area that may impact upon BMJ’s policies and practices.

Role Profile – Advisor – BMJ Ethics Committee -August 2022