Purpose and scope
This document is designed to provide information for researchers and reviewers of research to assist in decision-making about when payment of participants in research is ethically acceptable.
The approach taken in this document rests on the assumption that participation in research is desirable and a benefit to both the scientific community and the community at-large. This information also takes into account three core ethical principles of the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research 2007 (updated 2018) (National Statement): respect, beneficence and justice. Respect requires recognition that participation in research is voluntary and based on sufficient information about, and an adequate understanding of, both the proposed research and the implications of participating in it. Beneficence requires that the potential benefits of the research must justify the risks of participation. Justice requires that the benefits and burdens of research must be shared equitably and that opportunities for participation in research not be unjustly denied to those who are eligible for participation.
The payment models and options presented in this document are intended to reflect what may be reasonable and justifiable in the context of a specific research project, not what is required or expected. It remains the remit of Human Research Ethics Committees (HRECs) and other ethics review bodies to determine whether, for each research project, payment is ethically appropriate and, if so, whether the type/s and amount/s of payment proposed are optimal or acceptable.
The information in this document is not intended to replace or override guidance provided in the National Statement and should be understood as providing additional information to assist those designing and reviewing human research.
Purpose and scope 1
Explanation of key terms 1
Guidance statements 2
Context and explanation 3
Considerations for researchers and reviewers 5
Appendix 1: Examples of payment models 7
Appendix 2: Case studies 8