Research ethics provides the ethical standards for conducting sound and safe research. The field of medical research in China is rapidly growing and facing various ethical challenges. However, in China, little empirical research has been conducted on the knowledge and attitudes of medical postgraduates toward research ethics and RECs. It is critical for medical postgraduates to develop a proper knowledge of research ethics at the beginning of their careers. The purpose of this study was to assess the knowledge and attitudes of medical postgraduates toward research ethics and RECs.
This open access paper published in June 2023 looked at research that explored the attitudes of Chinese medical students toward Human Research Ethics, the role of research ethics committees, and Research Integrity matters – such as the fabrication of results. It highlights the need for constructive professional development for these students in these matters. It also suggests that when Chinese medical students are working with institutions in other jurisdictions, those institutions should conduct supplemental professional development. In the opinion of the AHRECS team, constructive professional development resourcing reflective practice rather than fixating on compliance with rules.
We found that only 46.7% were familiar with the ethical guidelines for research with human subjects. In addition, 63.2% of participants were familiar with the RECs that reviewed their research, and 90.7% perceived RECs as helpful. However, only 36.8% were fully aware of the functions of RECs. In the meantime, 30.7% believed that review by an REC would delay research and make it more difficult for researchers. Furthermore, most participants (94.9%) believed that a course on research ethics should be mandatory for medical postgraduates. Finally, 27.4% of the respondents considered the fabrication of some data or results to be acceptable.
This paper serves to suggest that research ethics education should be prioritized in medical ethics curriculum, and course syllabi or teaching methods should be revised to provide medical postgraduates with a deeper understanding of the principles, regulations, and specifics of research ethics. We also recommend that RECs provide diverse approaches in their review procedure to facilitate the understanding of medical postgraduates of the functions and processes of RECs and to enhance their awareness of research integrity.
Liu, X., Wang, X., Wu, Y. Yang, M., Khoshnood, K., Luo, E. & Wang, X. (2023) Knowledge and attitudes of Chinese medical postgraduates toward research ethics and research ethics committees: a cross-sectional study. BMC Medical Education 23(482). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12909-023-04459-y
Publisher (Open Access): https://bmcmededuc.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12909-023-04459-y