In this very practical talk, AHRECS senior consultant, Gary discusses the positive and constructive ways in which a research ethics committee Chair can set the tone of the meeting.
Committees can, and should, have a role beyond the normal operational tasks (e.g. confirmation of the minutes), research ethics review (including the framing of review feedback) and involvement in the institutions approach to professional development for its research community.
The Chair has an essential role in regards to how the committee utilises national and institutional guidance material that frames the conduct reviews and the ethical design/conduct of research projects.
They can usefully also guide the committee towards constructive handling of matters such as conflicts of interest and typographical errors in the material submitted to the committee.
AHRECS has considerable experience in working with research institutions in this area, including mentoring for Chairs and Secretaries, coaching for committees and professional development.
In this incredibly helpful and practical post, Erich von Dietze (a senior consultant at AHRECS) reflects on the considerations, benefits and potential challenges when trying to structure your ethics committee (whether human research or Animal Ethics).
Like many matters in research governance (especially Human Research Ethics and Animal Ethics), there is no simple answer that is always right. Saving time and impediments in one area, can create more and introduce delays in another.
Erich discusses the options and explores the issues that require consideration.
Getting this right can mitigate against unexpected member absences, committee continuity and maintain the expertise and readiness of members.
Acting rashly can cause problems, take time and use up resources.
This item is a recommended read for research office staff, a secretaries, committee chairs and members.
In this great and very helpful post, Gary and Kim (from AHRECS) looks at the benefits of institutions establishing and keeping updated a register of their members.
Such a register could track, when a member was appointed to the committee, when their appointment is up for renewal and the maximum finish date for their appointment. It should also track the dates on which the member has participated in professional development.
Such a register can be a component of good governance with regards to the membership of a research ethics committee.
Maintaining a register of when members have participated in professional development activities can be a great way of reinforcing the expectation that members will regularly participate in professional development. There is of course a reciprocal obligation that institutions regularly conduct internal and fund participation and external professional development activities.
It is good practice for institutions to maintain a public register of the declaration of interest from members. At the very least, such a register should be easily accessible by members of the committee, but it is also recommended that the register be publicly available. Members should be encouraged to at least lodge their interests when they are first appointed and when their membership is renewed.
The Western Australian Human Research Ethics workshop series is back for 2022.
Friday 30 September 2022 – Human Ethics workshop
Interacting across boundaries: applying human research ethics in different situations.
The workshop is being hosted by the Research Office at Notre Dame University, Fremantle, in conjunction with AHRECS (Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services).
8.30am registration, 9.00am start, concluding after lunch.
Notre Dame Campus, Tannock Hall, Fremantle WA
Cost $170.00 per participant
There is an online registration available to persons based outside of Western Australia. On request, a special discount code for Zoom-only registration can be provided – please contact email@example.com if this interest you.
In this post, Erich provides an overview of the event, the guest speakers and the components of the workshop.
Register at . On request, a special discount code for Zoom-only registration can be provided – please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if this interest you. The online component is open to registrants outside Western Australia.
In Australia or another country outside of Africa, would institution link to material about Ubuntu ethics? Especially if the institution isn’t doing a great deal of research in Africa.
In this post, Gary reflects on the argument that material should be included in an institution’s Human Research Ethics resource library, even if doing so, won’t be necessary to archive compliance with the national ethics guidelines/standards/regulations. In fact, he argues that precisely because it is not required, they should be included.
Gary refers to a podcast and a journal article that have recently been included in the AHRECS resource library, as examples of material that should be included in institutional resource libraries.
The point here is that material should be included if it would support excellent ethical conduct, irrespective of whether it would help demonstrate that the institution complies with the national standards – such as the National Statement in Australia.
In her latest thought-provoking post Stephanie Taplin reflects on social research with children/young adults and the impact of offering them incentives in the form of payments.
These matters have been controversial for research ethics committee and resulted in a block of items in the review feedback from the reviewing committee/s.
Despite the authority provided by the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (NHMRC, 2007, updated 2018) HRECs can be nervous about approving such research with incentives.
Despite this difficulty for reviewers, incentives in the form of payments definitely increases the chances that a young person will respond to a recruitment strategy.
Stephanie’s work has highlighted the degree to which a review body may be more comfortable with the offer of a chance to win and an incentive in a prize draw, at values over ten times as high as the direct incentive payment.
Another area of tension between the preferences of review body and young people is the difference between face-to-face interviews and anonymous questionnaires.
In this post Stephanie reflects on why researchers should engage with HRECs on these matters, rather than choose a path most likely to be accepted immediately by a committee.
In this terrific post, Sara Gottliebsen reflects on the last few years’ experiences in organising the incredibly popular annual human research ethics webinar.
This free event was first conceived of by Gorden McGurk, who has organised the webinars over the last few years.
The Human Research Ethics conferences have established a very high standard for the design, execution, speakers and contents for such an event.
The event received very high praise and deserved to get it.
The itinerary of speakers, events and activities for a free event is simply remarkable and deserving of the highest praise.
Well done Gordon, Sara and the team.
AHRECS is proud to be one of the inaugural sponsors of this event and will be continuing our sponsorship in 2022.
In this incredibly interesting post, Racheal Laugery reflects on an incredibly uncomfortable but very timely question.
Is the current approach to research ethics review fit for purpose?
In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, border closes and reduced international student income, insufficient government funding and a drive towards commercial research/commercialisation is our current approach to research ethics review Imbil and responsive enough?
What needs to be challenged and
changed? How can we get there? Who will need professional development and capacity building?
This requires an approach to reform that is focused on research ethics reviewers, researchers and research office staff.
Change won’t be quick and easy, but is absolutely necessary to ensure an institution’s arrangements are fit for the time.
Our approach will need to be interactive and responsive to problems that we can’t foresee yet.
Gary Allen, Mark Israel and Colin Thomson|
In the 1980s and 1990s, many research institutions made the principled and commendable decision not to accept funding from the tobacco industry.
This reflected the recognition of the awful health impacts of tobacco use and the degree to which the industry was muddying the waters of public debate with academic and clinical research questioning the veracity of the overwhelming body of evidence that clearly showed the dire dangers of activity such as smoking. While we continue to be shocked by cases such those like the research of Hans J Eysenck (and this), for the main it is accepted that receiving funding from the tobacco industry is not in the public’s best interest.
Dr Gary Allen, Senior Consultants AHRECS Prof. Mark Israel Prof. Colin Thomson AM . Reflecting on
Prof. Colin Thomson AM AHRECS Senior Consultant We at AHRECS, like all our friends,
Pieper, I. & Thomson, C.J.H. (2016) Beneficence as a Principle in Human Research. Monash