Canadian Journal of Bioethics Revue canadienne de bioéthique

Managing editor(s): Bryn Williams-Jones (Editor-in-chief), Aliya Affdal (Scientific Director)

Journal preceded by BioéthiqueOnline


The Canadian Journal of Bioethics is a peer-reviewed, bilingual (French and English), international, open access academic journal that publishes theoretical, conceptual and empirical research in bioethics. The aim of the journal is to provide a space for the publication of high quality and thought provoking bioethics scholarship of diverse forms (e.g., articles, commentaries, book reviews, editorials, debate pieces, case studies) and from across the full range of specialties in the field (e.g., clinical ethics, research ethics, public health ethics, technology ethics, professional ethics). The journal welcomes submissions that might not otherwise be publishable in US or European bioethics journals because of the language (e.g., in French), jurisdictional context (e.g., specific national issues or cases), form or subject matter (e.g., using diverse theoretical frameworks or applying novel methods).

The journal is hosted by the Bioethics Program at the School of Public Health of the Université de Montréal (ÉSPUM), in collaboration with Université de Montréal Libraries and the non-profit consortium Érudit, and is supported by grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Érudit and the Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN).

Formerly published as BioéthiqueOnline (archives 2012-2017), BO remains the social media arm of the journal (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn).


Programmes de bioéthique, Département de médecine sociale et préventive, École de santé publique de l'Université de Montréal, C.P. 6128, succ. Centre-ville, Montréal, QC, Canada H3C 3J7

Principal Contact
Bryn Williams-Jones, Full Professor
School of Public Health, Université de Montréal
Phone 514-343-2441;

Support Contact
Aliya Affdal, Scientific Director


Open access

The current issues and the journal’s archives are offered in open access.

Back issues (19 issues)

Permanent archiving of articles on Érudit is provided by Portico.

Editorial policy and ethics

Review Process
The journal advocates and applies the Open review method, for reasons of transparency and accountability. Manuscripts are thus evaluated (open, non-blinded) by two (2) members of the Editorial Board (a Section Editor and another editor), and if necessary, by the Editorial Advisory Board. Following preliminary editorial evaluation, a manuscript submitted for publication as a refereed article is sent out for evaluation by two (2) external peer-reviewers; refereed commentaries are evaluated by one (1) external peer-reviewer. All other contributions are reviewed by two editors of the journal. Striving to increase the transparency of the publication process, the names of the editors and peer-reviewers are known by authors (and vice versa); their names also appear on final publications, unless a peer-reviewer requests not to be named (listed as “Anonymous”). This approach is taken in order to promote constructive criticism to authors by editors and reviewers.

Editors and peer-reviewers are required to acknowledge and apply COPE’s ethical guidelines for peer-reviewers. Specifically, they should respect author confidentiality, not publicly discuss an author’s work/material while still in the pre-publication process, not appropriate author ideas or intellectual property, etc.

Manuscripts will be evaluated according to specific criteria (e.g., originality, academic merit, pertinence, innovation) and COPE’s guidelines for reviewers. Criteria are verified according to a standardized marking grid (which will be provided to both authors and reviewers). Reviewers are solicited based on their demonstrated expertise (i.e., publications); authors may also suggest peer-reviewers with whom they do not have a conflict of interest. Manuscripts can be accepted with minor or major revisions or rejected if they do not meet the standards of the journal. The editors will work with authors, to the extent that it is reasonable, to help arrive at publications of the highest quality. The editors will respect requests from authors that a particular editor not review their submission if these requests are well reasoned and practicable. When revisions are requested prior to final decision, revised manuscripts must be received within approximately one (1) month. Should an author be dissatisfied with an editorial decision, they may submit an appeal to the Executive Committee, who will meet to review all pertinent documentation (manuscript, emails, evaluations, etc.) and render a final decision within one (1) month.

The Canadian Journal of Bioethics applies the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License to all its publications. The author(s) retain copyright of their publication. They can reuse their publication, link to it on their home page or institutional website, deposit a PDF in a public repository, etc. Authors allow anyone to download, reprint, distribute, and/or copy their publication (no permission is required from authors or the publisher), so long as the original authors and source are cited.

Original Publication
Manuscripts will be considered for publication in the Canadian Journal of Bioethics provided they have not been previously published or are not concurrently under review elsewhere for publication. The Editorial Board will nonetheless consider propositions for the inclusion of material previously published in another language (assuming permission from the copyright holder has been obtained). Figures or tables that have been published elsewhere must be identified (with the complete reference), and permission of the copyright holder must be provided.

Access and Publishing Fees
The Canadian Journal of Bioethics is a diamond Open Access journal. Accessing the full content of publications in the journal will always be free. Authors will never be asked to pay a fee for the publication of their manuscripts. Nonetheless, donations are accepted and welcome to support the operating expenses of the journal.

Appeals and Complaints to Editorial Decisions
In the event that authors or readers of a manuscript are dissatisfied with the review process, published material, editorial management or decisions, scientific content, publishing ethics or policies, they may appeal the decision or lodge a complaint. Appeals and/or complaints should be submitted to the Editor-in-Chief, who will review the manuscript (blind to the initial review) and then consult with the editors involved with the submission. The decision of the Editor-in-Chief is final. If a complaint cannot be resolved internally, the Journal will solicit an independent third party, e.g., a member of the Editorial Advisory Board, to help settle the dispute.

The Canadian Journal of Bioethics will publish corrections for errors (made by the journal or authors) of a scientific nature that do not alter the overall basic results or conclusions. A note to this effect, with a label "CORRECTION", will be added to a revised PDF of the manuscript. Corrections linked to non-scientific content (e.g., minor typographic errors, correspondence information) will not be published as errata.

The Canadian Journal of Bioethics will publish retractions for major errors or confirmed misconduct that may call into question the source of the data or the validity of the results and conclusions of a publication, according to COPE’s retraction guidelines. In the event that the validity of the entire paper is called into question, this may result in retraction and possible investigation. The journal will publish a “Notification of retraction” with information about the publication, and justifications for the decision.

The editors of the Canadian Journal of Bioethics follow the recommendations and procedures outlined in COPE’s Core Practices and Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing, and by the Canadian Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research. The Editors will work to ensure the highest ethical standards of publication, including: the detection and prevention of plagiarism, the identification and management of conflicts of interest (for editors, reviewers and authors), the fair evaluation of manuscripts, and the publication of manuscripts that meet the journal’s standards of excellence.

Authorship should be limited to those who have contributed substantially to the work. The corresponding author must have obtained permission from all authors for the submission of the manuscript and for any change in authorship (Authorship Declaration Form). The corresponding author is the formal guarantor of the manuscript – they are the individual accountable for the integrity of the content, including data and results if applicable, reported in the paper. The corresponding author is responsible for replying to e-mails associated with the review of their manuscript. All authors share part of the responsibility for any manuscript they coauthor, and as such, must ensure (to the best of their knowledge) that the paper is an accurate, verifiable report of the research. While all coauthors may not be experts in all aspects of the research presented in their paper, they should have in place an appropriate process for reviewing the accuracy of the reported results. Any authorship disputes must be brought to the attention of the Editor-in-Chief or Scientific Director, who can then help mediate the conflict, if necessary, and propose an appropriate solution. Anonymous authorship (e.g., use of a pseudonym) may be considered in exceptional circumstances where the subject is particularly high risk and anonymity is required to protect the author from reprisals. Justification of this decision (by the Executive) will be made in the manuscript.

Conflict of Interest
All authors, reviewers and editors must disclose any association that poses a conflict of interest in connection with the manuscript. As described in the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS2, 2018): “A conflict of interest may arise when activities or situations place an individual or institution in a real, potential or perceived conflict between the duties or responsibilities related to research, and personal, institutional or other interests”. In the context of publication, examples of possible or potential conflicts of interest include a close personal friendship or family relationship with members on the Editorial Board or a peer-reviewer, certain funding sources (e.g., commercial partners with a vested interest in the research), or ideological, political or religious beliefs that may bias the presentation of the research. Many interests of this sort will be managed effectively through disclosure, either in the text (e.g., explaining one’s personal political or religious perspective) or in a declaration of interests (e.g., a funder). More significant conflicts should be managed by creating a critical distance, e.g., recusal of reviewers from a manuscript. Authors should disclose relevant conflicts of interest to the editor (by submitting a Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest form), and work to manage those conflicts that cannot be avoided.

Active Journal Members
Active members of the Canadian Journal of Bioethics – including the Editor-in-Chief, the Scientific Director, Section Editors, Editors, and members of the Editorial Advisory Board – may publish in the journal. To mitigate the related conflicts of interest (real or apparent):

  1. The Editor-in-Chief, the Scientific Director, Section Editors, and Editors will never be involved in the review or in any publication decision regarding their own manuscripts.
  2. Manuscripts submitted by a Section Editor will be reviewed by a different Section Editor, or by a member of the Editorial Advisory Board.
  3. Manuscripts submitted by the Editor-in-Chief or the Scientific Director will be reviewed by an ad hoc external editor or a member of the Editorial Advisory Board.
  4. To ensure transparency, a note will be included in any publication by an active member of the journal, stating that the author is also involved in the journal, and enumerating any other conflicts of interest. Editors must submit the Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest form for review and implementation of appropriate management strategies.
  5. The names of the editors who evaluate a manuscript will always be named on the final publication, as is the case for all publications.
  6. Links to the biographies of active members of the Canadian Journal of Bioethics are posted online. The website will be regularly updated (at least annually).

Peer-reviewers must declare any conflicts of interest before the review of a manuscript. These include, for example, personal or professional relations with the author. If the peer-reviewer, the Editor or the Section Editor decides that the conflict of interest may affect professional judgment, the peer-reviewer will not be allowed to do the review. If the conflict of interest is manageable, the conflict will be disclosed on the article when published, alongside the strategy employed to mitigate any possible negative impact on the rigour and quality of the review.

Advertising and Commercial Interests
The Canadian Journal of Bioethics is a not-for-profit journal and run entirely on a volunteer basis; as such, editors are not remunerated for their journal related activities. The Editorial Board may on occasion decide to publicise certain events or activities on the journal website, but no paid advertising or sponsorship will be solicited or accepted.

Human Participants
Research involving human participants must have been approved by the author’s institutional research ethics board (REB/IRB) or relevant authority. Authors must include in their Methods section a brief statement identifying the institutional committee approving the research. Authors must also include a statement confirming that informed consent was obtained from all human participants. Participant’s personal information, identifiers, illustrations and photos, etc. should be anonymized as far as possible. Research must have been conducted according to the principles expressed in the Canadian Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans or similar international policies on research ethics (e.g., Declaration of Helsinki, US Common Rule, CIOMS).

Animal Experiments
Authors using or reporting on animal experiments should indicate which regulations, laws or guidelines to which they are conforming (e.g., Canadian Council on Animal Care).

Materials and Data Availability
To allow others to replicate and build on work published in the Canadian Journal of Bioethics, authors must make materials, data, and associated protocols available to readers. Authors must disclose upon submission of the manuscript any restrictions on the availability of materials or information. Data not shown and personal communications should be limited to support claims in the work. Certain data or information should be kept confidential for ethical reasons (such as identifying information of participants) according to regulations and laws. Any other reasons for concealing data or material must be justified. For verification purposes, authors must be able to provide additional data when requested by the journal. Authors are encouraged to deposit as much of their data as possible in publicly accessible databases and to include a statement in their submissions on data availability to readers, in order to promote sharing within the scientific community.

As defined by the Canadian Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research, authors must ensure the integrity of their work  “[…] throughout the life cycle of a research project (i.e., from the formulation of the research question, through the design, conduct, collection of data, and analysis of the research, to its reporting, publication and dissemination, as well as the management of research funds).” All work should thus be free of fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism. This also includes, but is not limited to, self-plagiarism, redundant publication, invalid authorship, inadequate acknowledgments, and mismanagement of conflicts of interest.

During the pre-publication process, where editors or peer-reviewers detect possible misconduct with regards to a submission, they are obliged to act according to the COPE guidelines. Editors, peer-reviewers or any other member of the journal must make all reasonable efforts to investigate alleged misconduct, and then immediately bring these to the attention of the Editor-in-Chief and the Scientific Director. Post-publication concerns about possible misconduct, whether raised by readers or third parties, must be communicated directly to the Editor-in-Chief and the Scientific Director.

Process for handling misconduct

  1. Editor or reviewer raises ethical concerns about the manuscript and communicates this to the Editor-in-Chief and the Scientific Director;
  2. The Scientific Director contacts the Corresponding author requesting an explanation and provision of any relevant information;
  3. If the author provides an unsatisfactory response, the review process is suspended until the case is resolved (complex issues can be submitted to the COPE Forum for discussion);
  4. If there is a finding of misconduct, the case may be forwarded to the author’s employer/institution.

Equity in Research and Publication
Authors are encouraged to pay attention to sex and gender equity in their choice of research questions, methodologies, terminology, etc. In manuscripts, inclusive, non-gendered and/or non-binary choices of wording should be used, whenever possible. Moreover, authors are encouraged to “[…] include sex and gender considerations when relevant […and to] use the term sex (biological attribute) and gender (shaped by social/cultural circumstances) carefully in order to avoid confusing both terms” (SAGER guidelines). Bias-free language should also prevail when reporting about age, ethnic background, socioeconomic and/or religious status, disabilities, sexual orientation, etc.

Privacy Policy
The Canadian Journal of Bioethics will retain personal author information (e.g., contact details), solely with the purpose of fulfilling the journal’s mandate and ensuring an efficient and ethical publication process. Personal information will be protected by reasonable security safeguards against loss or theft, as well as unauthorized access, disclosure, copying, use or modification.

Information for contributors


Submission Preparation Checklist

As part of the submission process, authors are required to check off their submission's compliance with all of the following items, and submissions may be returned to authors that do not adhere to these guidelines.
  • The submission has not been previously published, nor is it before another journal for consideration (or an explanation has been provided in Comments to the Editor).
  • The submission file is in OpenOffice, Microsoft Word, or RTF document file format.
  • Where available, URLs for the references have been provided.
  • The text is single-spaced; uses a 12-point font; employs italics, rather than underlining (except with URL addresses); and all illustrations, figures, and tables are placed within the text at the appropriate points, rather than at the end.
  • The text adheres to the stylistic and bibliographic requirements outlined in the Author Guidelines.
  • All authors have signed and submitted the Authorship Declaration Form.
  • The corresponding author has completed and submitted the Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest form.

Author Guidelines

Submission Process
The Canadian Journal of Bioethics accepts papers written in either French or English. Papers are published free of charge and in the language of submission. The journal welcomes manuscripts of the following types:

Articles (3500-15000 words; peer-reviewed): original empirical, theoretical or conceptual research; review articles

Critical commentaries (2000-3000 words; peer-reviewed): timely critical reflection on current issues; clear and concise

“Response to” commentaries (1000-2000 words): well-articulated reflections on the perspectives or arguments advanced in published manuscripts

Book Reviews (750-1200 words): summary analysis of recent books in bioethics (broadly construed)

Conference Proceedings (1000-2000 words): summaries or proceedings of conferences or other academic events

Case studies (750-1200 words): based on a real or fictional case, enabling one or more ethical problems to be identified and analysed

Perspectives (2000-3000 words): opinion pieces on an issue of importance for bioethics based on constructive criticism

Art, Culture & Creative Works: Artistic/creative works and essays of significance to bioethics (all mediums that can be presented online will be considered)

Letter to the Editor (250-500 words)

Other types of manuscript that do not fall into the above mentioned categories will be considered by the Executive Board.

Text should be submitted in Word (.doc or .docx) or Real Text Format (.rtf).

Title: Titles should be no more than three typeset lines (generally 135 characters including spaces) and should be comprehensible to a broad audience.

Author affiliation: Include department, institution and complete address, for each author. Use superscripts to match authors with institutions.

Corresponding author and guarantor: The name, complete address, and e-mail address of the author to whom correspondence and proofs should be sent.

Abstract: For articles, please provide a 250 word abstract. For all other submissions (e.g., commentaries, case studies, book reviews), please provide a 1-2 sentence summary. Abstracts should explain to the general reader the major contributions of the article. References are not necessary in the abstract.

Keywords: Please provide 5-8 keywords

Headings & Sub-headings: Use headings and subheadings (i.e., Introduction, major headings, Conclusion) where appropriate to structure your text.

Citations: Use Numbered reference style for in-text citations – e.g., (1) or (3-7) – and place references at end of text in List of References. For direct in-text quotations, cite with page number, e.g., (4, p.23). Do not use footnotes or endnotes for referencing, but for clarification. Citations in the footnotes should follow in order with those in the main text.

References: Use a numbered List of References, in order of appearance in text, following the Vancouver system citation style. Give complete reference information, i.e., all author names and full journal name. Provide inclusive page ranges for journal articles and book chapters. Where possible, add static links to documents that are publicly accessible online. Cite databases in the text. Only published or in-press papers and books may be cited in the reference list. Unpublished abstracts of papers presented at meetings or references to "data not shown" are not permitted.

Footnotes: Use (numbered) footnotes sparingly, and only to provide clarifying information that does not fit in the main text.

Tables/Figures: Tables and Figures should be embedded in the body of the text, with a brief Title and legend.

AcknowledgmentsList acknowledgments and all funding sources, or the absence of funding. Any contributions to the research phase or manuscript writing should also be acknowledged.

Conflicts of Interest: Disclose any association that poses a conflict of interest in connection with the manuscript. Authors must acknowledge all funding sources supporting the work.

Post-submission responsabilities
Authors should respond to all comments and/or questions raised by Editors or peer-reviewers during the review process (e.g., in a Response to Reviewers summary document), explaining where they agree or not (with justification), and detailing all modifications.

Research Ethics
Research involving human participants must have been approved by the author’s institutional research ethics board (REB/IRB) or relevant authority. Authors must include in their Methods section a brief statement identifying the institutional committee approving the research. Authors must also include a statement confirming that informed consent was obtained from all human participants. Participant’s personal information, identifiers, illustrations and photos, etc. should be anonymized as far as possible. Research must have been conducted according to the principles expressed in the Canadian Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans or similar international policies on research ethics (e.g., Declaration of Helsinki, US Common Rule, CIOMS). Further specifications regarding Publication Ethics and Responsible Conduct of Research and/or disclosure of Conflict of interest may apply.

Language-Editing Services
Prior to submission, authors who believe their manuscripts would benefit from professional editing are encouraged to use a language-editing service. The journal reserves the right to demand language correction of a manuscript, if necessary. Manuscripts not meeting academic standards of French or English will not be accepted for publication.

Digital Figures
File types with extensions JPG, PNG, TIFF, EPS, and high-resolution PDF will be permitted for inclusion in the online journal.

Movies: Supply Audio Video Interleave (avi), Quicktime (mov), Windows Media (wmv), Animated GIF (gif), or MPEG files and submit a brief legend for each movie in a Word or RTF file.

Still images: Authors must provide a still image from each video file. Supply TIFF, EPS, high-resolution PDF, JPEG, or GIF files.

Appendices: Authors should submit individual source files to ensure readability. If this is not possible, supply a single PDF file that contains all of the supporting information associated with the manuscript. This file type will be published in raw format and will not be edited or composed.

We strongly encourage authors to create an ORCID ID, to facilitate transparency and easy identification of authors (create an ORCID ID)


Section Editors: Aliya Affdal


  • papers of approximately 3500-15000 words
  • original empirical, theoretical or conceptual research
  • review articles

Peer-reviewer responsibilities

Reviewer evaluations are given serious consideration by the editors and authors in the preparation of manuscripts for publication. Nonetheless, being named as a reviewer does not necessarily denote approval of a manuscript; the editors take full responsibility for final acceptance and publication of an article.

Make a new submission to the Articles section.

Critical commentaries

Section Editor: Aliya Affdal

Critical commentaries are peer-reviewed, and provide timely critical reflection on current issues. They should be clear and concise, 2000-3000 words.

Make a new submission to the Critical commentaries section.

"Response to" Commentaries

Section Editor: Aliya Affdal

“Response to” commentaries permit the publication of well-articulated reflections on the perspectives or arguments advanced in manuscripts published in the journal. They should be clear and concise, 1000-2000 words.

Make a new submission to the "Response to" Commentaries section.

Art, Culture & Creative Work

Section editor: Jacques Quintin

We seek submissions of artistic, creative and essay-type works that are significant to bioethics. All media that can be presented online will be considered, including but not limited to the following:

  • Literary works (in the form of poetry, fiction, drama, song and essays);
  • Testimonials and experience-sharing;
  • Photographs, drawings, animations/caricatures, digital paintings.

Make a new submission to the Art, Culture & Creative Work section.

Case studies

Section Editor: Julien Brisson

(approx. 750-1200 words)

Case studies enable the identification and analysis of one or more ethical problems. They can be based on real or fictional events, while respecting the principle of confidentiality. The case study should contain a detailed description and a brief ethical analysis followed by questions to stimulate and develop discussion.

Make a new submission to the Case studies section.

Conference Proceedings

Section Editor: Hazar Haidar

(approx. 1000-2000 words): summaries or proceedings of conferences or other academic events

Make a new submission to the Conference Proceedings section.

Book Reviews

Section EditorPatrick Gogognon

(approx. 750-1200 words): summary analysis of recent books in bioethics (broadly construed)

Make a new submission to the Book Reviews section.


Section Editor: Hazar Haidar

Perspectives and testimonies present the author's point of view on a topic of importance in bioethics. It may be a subject that the author is passionate about or a personal experience related to his or her position or life experience. These are texts that can be descriptive, generally based on constructive criticism and contributing to bioethical reflection, of about 2000 to 3000 words.

Make a new submission to the Perspectives section.

Letter to the Editor

Section Editor: Hazar Haidar

(approx. 250-500 words)

Make a new submission to the Letter to the Editor section.

Copyright Notice

The Canadian Journal of Bioethics applies the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License to all its publications. Authors therefore retain copyright of their publication, e.g., they can reuse their publication, link to it on their home page or institutional website, deposit a PDF in a public repository. However, the authors allow anyone to download, reuse, reprint, modify, distribute, and/or copy their publication, so long as the original authors and source are cited.

Privacy Statement

The names and email addresses entered in this journal site will be used exclusively for the stated purposes of this journal and will not be made available for any other purpose or to any other party.

Editorial board


Scientific Director

  • Aliya Affdal, PhD(c), Université de Montréal, Québec, Canada

Section Editors


Production team

Artist in Residence

  • Han Han Li, Université de Montréal, Québec, Canada