The aim of this review was to assess the frequency of reporting of informed consent and regional ethical committee (REC) approval in all reports of trials published in the three major European otolaryngology journals in 2012 (including Clinical Otolaryngology itself!). In total 49.9% of the manuscripts reporting human subjects, human tissue or identifiable personal data research lacked a statement of REC approval and 42.9% lacked disclosure of informed consent. Articles that did not state REC approval were associated with additionally not stating informed consent (P < 0.05). Clearly it is imperative that in the present publishing climate adequate attention is given to correct procedure and protocol with the onus placed on the submitting authors to detail their involvement. It is pleasing to see that in publishing such an article themselves Clinical Otolaryngology recognise their responsibility in promoting this area.