AHRECS: Voice for constructive change. We provide access to some of the leading experts in human research ethics in Australia and New Zealand.
We provide expert and high quality consultancy services relating to research integrity, human research ethics, educational integrity and publication ethics for Australia, New Zealand and the wider Asia-Pacific region.
Over the years AHRECS has provided advice on human research ethics and research integrity matters to government departments, institutions, researchers, research ethics reviewers and ethics managers.
When it comes to the approach to human research ethics, did we buy London Bridge thinking it was Tower Bridge?
In this post, two experienced research ethics officers risk being decried as heretics by reflecting upon the justifications that are used for the current Human Research Ethics arrangements in countries around the world.
They use the sale of London Bridge in the Sixties and the urban myth that the US millionaire who bought it thought he was buying Tower Bridge, to ask, given the time, effort and resources expended on research ethics review, are we getting what we paid for?
There are genuine benefits that can flow from a well-conducted review process and they do justify the existence of those processes, but we should stop claiming those processes safeguard us against the criminal, unethical and reckless behaviour of the past.
They don’t and we should stop claiming in our professional development activities and resource material they do.
Regulation of human epigenetic editing: ensuring international frameworks for governing Human Genome Editing don’t impede vital medical research
In this thoughtful post, Nik Zeps reflects on human genome manipulation in medical research, the ethical guidance in Australia and internationally.
He discusses CRISPR and the furore in 2018 around the ‘genetically modified babies’ in China.
Nik then discusses the degree to which the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed discussions about human genetic manipulation off the media radar.
Nevertheless, there have been important international discussions about the topic, including a new WHO Framework. This topic was recently discussed in a paper by Zeps, Lysaght et al. 2021.
The situation might position the WHO as a major player in the international discussion about human genetic manipulation.
In this post, Dr Gary Allen (one of the senior consultants at AHRECS) discusses why resourcing reflective practice is a more reliable and effective/constructive way to manage institutional risk than fixating on compliance and using an enforcement and sanctions approach.
Approaching the serious risks from within the frame of resourcing practice treats the role of research ethics as being to facilitate research, rather than being an impediment to research.
This embeds research ethics as being a component of the design and conduct of quality research, not as something external to research.
Systems that promote ethical design and conduct, are also investments in quality research
Gary has worked in the human research ethics field since 1997. He has worked with committees in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and Vietnam. He Chaired the Committee that drafted the new Chapter 3.1 of the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research.
In this post Gary discusses the components of a good internal report from a research ethics committee to the governing body of the host institution.
Such reports should be produced annually.
A constructive report should provide a snapshot of the committee during the reported period.
The report should cover specific matters that are optional and strategic in nature.
In this post, Gary Allen and Nik Zeps explore the human research ethics arguments and imperatives that only allow for the sharing of data, but establish a public good that can make sharing expected and essential.
This expectation should shape the approach to consent, the framing of assurances given to potential participants about confidentiality and e reflected in the application for research ethics review.
Research ethics committees and review bodies should be cognisant of these ethical arguments during the research ethics review of projects
Institutions must have clear policies and guidance material on data sharing.
In this great post, Mark Israel, Julia Miller, Liwen Tan and Kristy Davis discuss the extra challenges that confront international students when it comes to human research ethics and navigating research ethics review and the daunting challenge of satisfying an unsympathetic research ethics committee.
This scary rite of passage is made even harder if your native language doesn’t have direct translations for ethics terminology or if there are cultural concepts without direct correlation.
This is a matter that should be carefully considered by research ethics committees, research offices, international offices and graduate schools.
AHRECS in Asia
AHRECS in Asia
Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services: Our work in Asia
澳大利亚和新西兰人类研究伦理咨询服务 / 澳大利亞和新西蘭人類研究倫理諮詢服務
Despite our name and our strong connections to Australia and New Zealand, for several years we have been providing advice to institutions in East and South-East Asia. In 2003, Gary Allen helped the Hanoi School of Public Health in Vietnam establish its human research ethics arrangements.
Following a period as an external examiner in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Hong Kong, Mark Israel advised the Faculty of Law there on research integrity.
Resourcing Reflective Practice
Individually and together we have written a fair amount (see Gary, Mark and Colin‘s profiles for references) about the inherent flaws
of the enforcement and compliance approach. A more constructive, sustainable and positive approach is one that has a resourcing
reflective practice objective. See this short whiteboard video for more about this approach.