Speed read Rules on human research mainly created for biomedical research Social scientists pushed for changes so rules meet their needs Political upheaval in Brazil looks set to delay new rules being signed off
Rules on human research mainly created for biomedical research
Social scientists pushed for changes so rules meet their needs
Political upheaval in Brazil looks set to delay new rules being signed off
The past few years have seen various attempts to reduce bureaucracy. As part of this, Brazilian human and social scientists have pushed for changes in the ethical and legal framework of all types of research involving human beings, an issue that has caused discontent among these researchers.
The issue is not that they oppose the ethical principles, such as respect for human dignity and the protection of research subjects, which guide these regulations. Rather the point is that the rules, created primarily to regulate biomedical research, do not meet the specific needs of social science.
The main concern is that the system imposes the same rules for two different kinds of research: research into human beings, for example to develop and test new drugs, and research with human beings, which uses ethnography, observation and interviews to understand social behaviour.
The situation is aggravated by the entire system falling under the remit of the National Health Council, part of the ministry of health. Both the council and ministry are made up mainly of representatives from the medical sciences. As well as judging the ethical implications of research projects, the council has been judging their scientific merit too, and this includes projects outside the medical field and so outside their expertise.