ACN - 101321555 Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Resource Library

Research Ethics MonthlyAbout Us


Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Values in China as Compared to Africa: Two Conceptions of Harmony0

Posted by Admin in on July 29, 2017

Not specifically on research ethics, but a good and unusual comparison of African Ubuntu and Confucian traditions approaches to ideas about harmony in opposition to Western liberal. The first piece is by a South African-based philosopher. These two articles point to ways of promoting dialogue between researchers and reviewers within particular cultural contexts.


Acknowledging a twenty-first-century context of sophisticated market economies and other Western influences such as Christianity, what similarities and differences are there between characteristic indigenous values of sub-Saharan Africa and China, and how do they continue to influence everyday life in these societies? After establishing that ideals of harmonious relationships are central to both non-Western value systems, traditional African and Chinese conceptions of harmony are compared and contrasted, and a number of aspects are analyzed in which the appreciation of this value affects contemporary political, economic, and social interaction.

Metz, T. (2017) Values in China as Compared to Africa: Two Conceptions of Harmony. Philosophy East and West 67(2) 441-465. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/pew.2017.0034

And a response to Metz from Li

Chenyang Li (2016) Confucian Harmony in Dialogue with African Harmony: A Response. African and Asian Studies 15 (2016) 1-10; doi 10.1163/15692108-12341353

Ethical Imperialism’ and the Export of Research Ethics Regulation from the Global North to South Africa (Papers: Mark Israel | May 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on May 28, 2017

The global export of principlism forms part of broader international flows of capital, students and academics, as well as knowledge and ideology. The impact of global capital has had a long-standing effect on research ethics governance. Pharmaceutical companies have sought to open up new markets and take advantage of cheaper sites for multi-centre drug trials. Multinational research teams have looked to those countries with lower risks of litigation, low labour costs, pharmacologically ‘naive’ participants, weak ethics review and the absence of other regulatory processes. As a result, research in low- and middleincome countries has burgeoned. As developing countries struggle to keep pace, the Helsinki and UNESCO Declarations have created regulatory templates for those without the infrastructure to create their own, and a range of capacity-building initiatives in research ethics have encouraged researchers in many developing countries to follow these models. Increasing student and academic mobility and international research collaboration between the global North and South may also ease international transfer of a range of research and education policies that favour universalist approaches to research ethics. Contemporary regulations in countries such as South Africa have shadowed developments in the North and have extended biomedical regulation to all forms of research. However, in some parts of the global South and the Fourth World, there is an emerging distrust and a critique of the motivation for some of the funding for capacitybuilding in research ethics. For many, opposition to universalist claims is not simply targeted at insensitivity in application but draws on critical ethical traditions such as indigenous, postmodern and postcolonial ethics to challenge the universal basis for principlism, and calls for a deeper understanding of and engagement with how different societies, cultures, peoples and disciplines understand ethics, research and ethical research.

Israel, M (2017) ‘Ethical Imperialism’ and the Export of Research Ethics Regulation from the Global North to South Africa. AFSAAP Annual Conference Proceedings – Africa: Moving the Boundaries. ISBN 978-0-9942689-2-1.

Laying the Groundwork: A Practical Guide for Ethical Research with Indigenous Communities (Papers: Julia K. Riddell, et al)0

Posted by Admin in on May 16, 2017

Although there are numerous ethical guidelines for research with Indigenous communities, not all research is conducted in an ethical, culturally respectful, and effective way. To address this gap, we review four ethical frameworks for research with Indigenous Peoples in Canada. Drawing upon our experiences conducting a transformative social justice research project in five Indigenous communities, we discuss the ethical tensions we have encountered and how we have attempted to address these challenges. Finally, drawing on these experiences, we make recommendations to support those planning to conduct research with Indigenous Peoples in Canada. We discuss the importance of training to highlight the intricacies and nuances of bringing the ethical guidelines to life through co-created research with Indigenous communities.

research ethics, Indigenous communities, community-based research

We are deeply grateful to our partner communities who have walked beside us on our research journey.

Riddell JK, Salamanca A, Pepler DJ, Cardinal S, McIvor O (2017). Laying the Groundwork: A Practical Guide for Ethical Research with Indigenous Communities. The International Indigenous Policy Journal, 8(2) . Retrieved from:
vol8/iss2/6 DOI: 10.18584/iipj.2017.8.2.6

San people of Africa draft code of ethics for researchers – Science (Linda Nordling | March 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on April 19, 2017

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA—Scientists have studied the San people of Southern Africa for decades, intrigued by their age-old rituals and ancient genetic fingerprints. Now, after more than a century of being scrutinized by science, the San are demanding something back. Earlier this month the group unveiled a code of ethics for researchers wishing to study their culture, genes, or heritage.

The code, published here on 3 March, asks researchers to treat the San respectfully and refrain from publishing information that could be viewed as insulting. Because such sensitivities may not be clear to researchers, the code asks that scientists let communities read and comment on findings before they are published. It also asks that researchers keep their promises and give something back to the community in return for its cooperation.

“We’re not saying that everybody is bad. But you get those few individuals who don’t respect the San,” says Leana Snyders, head of the South African San Council in Upington, which helped create the code.

Read the rest of this discussion piece