Declaration of Helsinki 10.0
The Declaration has been revised 10 times over the last 50 years, and more frequently as time has gone on. The latest revision is more like a tweaking, without too much in the way of novelty and excitement. The document's structure has been spruced up, making it less burdensome to read. The emphasis on compensation for research-related harm is relatively new and welcome, though the Declaration provides little concrete guidance on what fair compensation would look like. The Declaration reiterates that, in order to fulfill the most basic ethical requirement of research, research results must be disseminated, including negative results. The section about the use of placebos in clinical trials, which usually is good for a firestorm of dispute, seems to be unchanged this time around.
The Declaration of Helsinki has increasingly become a contested document. Not everyone is happy with the Declaration in its present form. The Journal of the American Medical Association has published, with open access, both the new Declaration and a critical commentary, here and here. Despite its aspiration to super-international authority, perhaps the real power of the Declaration lies in the translation of its precepts into more concrete national regulations, particularly when they are backed by the force of law. That means, of course, if there are problems with the Declaration itself, they will be reproduced around the world. That is why this modest, 4 page document has to be kept under close scrutiny.