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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

The Foundation of Knowledge Production: Research Ethics Education in Taiwan (PowerPoint: Chien Chou | September 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on March 24, 2019


1. The Importance of Research Ethics
2. Researchers’Needs for Education
3. Education and Implementation Mechanism of Research Ethics in Taiwan’s Higher Education
4. Concluding Remarks

The Importance of research ethics

• Presents a baseline for all research behaviors
• Protects others, minimizes harm and increases the sum of good
• Supports trust among researchers and between research communities and the public
• Ensures research integrity and quality
• Satisfies organizational and professional demands • Copes with new and more challenging problems

Access Chien Chou’s presentation

The Ethics Ecosystem: Personal Ethics, Network Governance and Regulating Actors Governing the Use of Social Media Research Data (Papers: Gabrielle Samuel, et al | February 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on March 4, 2019


While this paper is most obviously relevant to countries without a national standard for non-health human research (ie it might seem more useful for New Zealand) than Australia, it does point to institutions having nuanced guidance about the use of Web 2.0 material.

AHRECS can provide an in-meeting briefing for our HREC/REC that would be 15min pre-recorded presentation (ppt with embedded audio), a video/phone connection for questions and discussion, and a short briefing note, which includes a recommended reading list. The cost of this activity is AUD 900. Send an email to to find out more.

This paper examines the consequences of a culture of “personal ethics” when using new methodologies, such as the use of social media (SM) sites as a source of data for research. Using SM research as an example, this paper explores the practices of a number of actors and researchers within the “Ethics Ecosystem” which as a network governs ethically responsible research behaviour. In the case of SM research, the ethical use of this data is currently in dispute, as even though it is seemingly publically available, concerns relating to privacy, vulnerability, potential harm and consent blur the lines of responsible ethical research behaviour. The findings point to the dominance of a personal, bottom-up, researcher-led, ‘ethical barometer’ for making decisions regarding the permissibility of using SM data. We show that the use of different barometers by different researchers can lead to wide disparities in ethical practice – disparities which are compounded by the lack of firm guidelines for responsible practice of SM research. This has widespread consequences on the development of shared norms and understandings at all levels, and by all actors within the Ethics Ecosystem, and risks inconsistencies in their approaches to ethical decision-making. This paper argues that this governance of ethical behaviour by individual researchers perpetuates a negative cycle of academic practice that is dependent on subjective judgements by researchers themselves, rather than governed by more formalised academic institutions such as the research ethics committee and funding council guidelines.

Evaluation Governance, Research ethics, Social media, Ethics Internet research

Samuel, G., Derrick, G.E. & van Leeuwen, T. Minerva. (2019). “The Ethics Ecosystem: Personal Ethics, Network Governance and Regulating Actors Governing the Use of Social Media Research Data.” Minerva.
Publisher (Open Access):

Whose hearts, livers and lungs are transplanted in China? Origins must be clear in human organ research – The Conversation (Wendy Rogers and Matthew Robertson | February 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on February 14, 2019

Scientist He Jiankui’s claimed use of the genetic tool CRISPR to edit the genomes of twin girls led to international condemnation. His actions have focused a spotlight on research ethics – and what the consequences should be when scientists “go rogue”.

The Chinese Academy of Science initially looked into He’s conduct, and a subsequent internal government investigation has allegedly identified multiple violations of state laws. He has now been fired by his university.

Read more: Tension as scientist at centre of CRISPR outrage speaks at genome editing summit

But beyond just this example, what does happen when scientists fail to comply with globally-accepted guidelines for ethical medical research? We examined this issue focusing on published research involving recipients of organ transplants performed in the People’s Republic of China.\

Read the rest of this discussion piece

Wake-up call from Hong Kong – Science (Victor J. Dzau, et al | December 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on February 12, 2019

The Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing, held in Hong Kong last month, was rocked by the revelation from a researcher from Shenzhen that twins were born whose healthy embryonic genomes had been edited to confer resistance to HIV. Despite widespread condemnation by the summit organizing committee, world scientific academies, and prominent scientific leaders that such research was “deeply disturbing” and “irresponsible,” and the launch of an investigation in China into the researcher’s actions, it is apparent that the ability to use CRISPR-Cas9 to edit the human genome has outpaced nascent efforts by the scientific and medical communities to confront the complex ethical and governance issues that they raise. The current guidelines and principles on human germline genome editing are based on sound scientific and ethical principles. However, this case highlights the urgent need to accelerate efforts to reach international agreement upon more specific criteria and standards that have to be met before human germline editing would be deemed permissible.

“We need…broad agreement on…criteria for human germline genome editing research…”

Together, we call upon international academies to quickly convene international experts and stakeholders to produce an expedited report that will inform the development of these criteria and standards to which all genome editing in human embryos for reproductive purposes must conform, and to engage scientific bodies around the world in this effort. The United States National Academies are willing to lead in this endeavor. Academies are well-positioned to convene needed international expertise and to help foster broad scientific consensus on the responsible pursuit of human genome editing research and clinical applications. We strongly believe that international consensus on such standards is important to avoid the potential for researchers to rationalize the justification or seek out convenient locales for conducting dangerous and unethical experimentation. The establishment of international scientific standards is not intended to substitute for national regulation but could inform such regulation.

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