BETHESDA, Md. (March 1, 2012)The American Physiology Society (APS) has announced a new policy requiring the reporting of the sex of experimental animals and the sex or gender of humans used in studies submitted for publication in any of the organization's 13 peer-reviewed journals. This notable requirement for all research study authors has been approved by the APS leadership and will be presented in an editorial, "In Pursuit of Scientific Excellence Sex Matters," written by Virginia Miller, Ph.D., Professor, Surgery and Physiology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. The announcement was made by Hershel Raff, Ph.D., Chair of the society's Publications Committee. He added that the editorial will appear in the journals beginning this month.
At first glance this change in author guidelines appears to align to the overall acceptance by the scientific community that sex or gender issues must be addressed in the conduct and reporting of physiological and scientific research. "Unfortunately, what has been accepted in theory by the research community has not been universally reflected in the current content of scientific journal articles," said Dr. Miller in an interview. "With the acceptance that 'sex does matter', it would follow that scientific journal research articles would report sex or gender of the experimental material in the Methodology section of the submitted content but this has not been the case," she said.
Why Sex and Gender Matter
Dr. Miller points to the 2001 the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences report, "Exploring the Biological Contributions to Human Health: Does Sex Matter?" which offered the first significant assessment of sex and gender differences in biomedical research and determined that sex does matter. The IOM report, supported by the Society for Women's Health Research, found that sex differences important to health and human disease occur at
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American Physiological Society