Preamble to the IARC Monographs


5. Meeting participants

Five categories of participant can be present at Monograph meetings.

(a) The Working Group is responsible for the critical reviews and evaluations that are developed during the meeting. The tasks of Working Group Members are: (i) to ascertain that all appropriate data have been collected; (ii) to select the data relevant for the evaluation on the basis of scientific merit; (iii) to prepare accurate summaries of the data to enable the reader to follow the reasoning of the Working Group; (iv) to evaluate the results of epidemiological and experimental studies on cancer; (v) to evaluate data relevant to the understanding of mechanisms of carcinogenesis; and (vi) to make an overall evaluation of the carcinogenicity of the exposure to humans. Working Group Members generally have published significant research related to the carcinogenicity of the agents being reviewed, and IARC uses literature searches to identify most experts. Working Group Members are selected on the basis of (a) knowledge and experience and (b) absence of real or apparent conflicts of interests. Consideration is also given to demographic diversity and balance of scientific findings and views.

(b) Invited Specialists are experts who also have critical knowledge and experience but have a real or apparent conflict of interests. These experts are invited when necessary to assist in the Working Group by contributing their unique knowledge and experience during subgroup and plenary discussions. They may also contribute text on non-influential issues in the section on exposure, such as a general description of data on production and use (see Part B, Section 1). Invited Specialists do not serve as meeting chair or subgroup chair, draft text that pertains to the description or interpretation of cancer data, or participate in the evaluations.

(c) Representatives of national and international health agencies often attend meetings because their agencies sponsor the programme or are interested in the subject of a meeting. Representatives do not serve as meeting chair or subgroup chair, draft any part of a Monograph, or participate in the evaluations.

(d) Observers with relevant scientific credentials may be admitted to a meeting by IARC in limited numbers. Attention will be given to achieving a balance of Observers from constituencies with differing perspectives. They are invited to observe the meeting and should not attempt to influence it. Observers do not serve as meeting chair or subgroup chair, draft any part of a Monograph, or participate in the evaluations. At the meeting, the meeting chair and subgroup chairs may grant Observers an opportunity to speak, generally after they have observed a discussion. Observers agree to respect the Guidelines for Observers at IARC Monographs meetings (available at

(e) The IARC Secretariat consists of scientists who are designated by IARC and who have relevant expertise. They serve as rapporteurs and participate in all discussions. When requested by the meeting chair or subgroup chair, they may also draft text or prepare tables and analyses.

Before an invitation is extended, each potential participant, including the IARC Secretariat, completes the WHO Declaration of Interests to report financial interests, employment and consulting, and individual and institutional research support related to the subject of the meeting. IARC assesses these interests to determine whether there is a conflict that warrants some limitation on participation. The declarations are updated and reviewed again at the opening of the meeting. Interests related to the subject of the meeting are disclosed to the meeting participants and in the published volume (Cogliano et al., 2004).

The names and principal affiliations of participants are available on the Monographs programme website ( approximately two months before each meeting. It is not acceptable for Observers or third parties to contact other participants before a meeting or to lobby them at any time. Meeting participants are asked to report all such contacts to IARC (Cogliano et al., 2005).

All participants are listed, with their principal affiliations, at the beginning of each volume. Each participant who is a Member of a Working Group serves as an individual scientist and not as a representative of any organization, government or industry.

Posted 23 January 2006