In this terrific and thoughtful post, Colin Thomson AM, a Senior Adviser to AHRECS, reflects on what we mean when we talk about expertise i the context of Human Research Ethics Review.
Do we mean expertise in ethics, research ethics or ethics review or a combination?
Do they fit together seamlessly and easily or is there an incongruence?
He frames these matters, when talking about research ethics committee members and research ethics reviewers across ten important categories.
He then suggests ten tests that could be usefully applied to evaluate the quality of review feedback.
How your institution’s research ethics committee and its review feedback fare if judged against this criteria?
Is it time they had some professional development? Does the Committee’s standard operating procedures need to be updated?
This is a valuable read for research ethics committee Chairs, Secretaries and members.
In this thought-provoking post, Nik Zeps (a consultant with AHRECS and a partner at Chrysalis) discusses the serious harm (in terms of reputation and career, as well as lost useful lines of inquiry) when there are complaints that allege ethical problems with clinical research.
These relate to situations where the clinical research is evaluating different kinds of intervention, where the evidence for the ‘accepted’ treatment might not be clear.
A misunderstanding of such research designs and a visceral reaction to apparent breaches aren’t helpful.
When such allegations are made, the researchers are rarely afforded an opportunity to respond and explain. If they were, one assumes that the manner could be easily cleared up.
We are embarrassed to admit in our own reporting of the cited case we really didn’t grasp the realities of what occurred or called out the very emotive reaction.
When it comes to the approach to human research ethics, did we buy London Bridge thinking it was Tower Bridge?
In this post, two experienced research ethics officers risk being decried as heretics by reflecting upon the justifications that are used for the current Human Research Ethics arrangements in countries around the world.
They use the sale of London Bridge in the Sixties and the urban myth that the US millionaire who bought it thought he was buying Tower Bridge, to ask, given the time, effort and resources expended on research ethics review, are we getting what we paid for?
There are genuine benefits that can flow from a well-conducted review process and they do justify the existence of those processes, but we should stop claiming those processes safeguard us against the criminal, unethical and reckless behaviour of the past.
They don’t and we should stop claiming in our professional development activities and resource material they do.
In this post, Dr Gary Allen (one of the senior consultants at AHRECS) discusses why resourcing reflective practice is a more reliable and effective/constructive way to manage institutional risk than fixating on compliance and using an enforcement and sanctions approach.
Approaching the serious risks from within the frame of resourcing practice treats the role of research ethics as being to facilitate research, rather than being an impediment to research.
This embeds research ethics as being a component of the design and conduct of quality research, not as something external to research.
Systems that promote ethical design and conduct, are also investments in quality research
Gary has worked in the human research ethics field since 1997. He has worked with committees in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and Vietnam. He Chaired the Committee that drafted the new Chapter 3.1 of the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research.
In this post, Gary Allen and Nik Zeps explore the human research ethics arguments and imperatives that only allow for the sharing of data, but establish a public good that can make sharing expected and essential.
This expectation should shape the approach to consent, the framing of assurances given to potential participants about confidentiality and e reflected in the application for research ethics review.
Research ethics committees and review bodies should be cognisant of these ethical arguments during the research ethics review of projects
Institutions must have clear policies and guidance material on data sharing.
In this great post, Mark Israel, Julia Miller, Liwen Tan and Kristy Davis discuss the extra challenges that confront international students when it comes to human research ethics and navigating research ethics review and the daunting challenge of satisfying an unsympathetic research ethics committee.
This scary rite of passage is made even harder if your native language doesn’t have direct translations for ethics terminology or if there are cultural concepts without direct correlation.
This is a matter that should be carefully considered by research ethics committees, research offices, international offices and graduate schools.
We are delighted with how busy AHRECS is at the moment in the human research ethics and research integrity spheres in Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Our current work can be broken down into four categories:
1. Informing the practice of a research institution
2. Fostering and supporting a community of practice
3. Helping with tricky questions
4. Formulating an approach
To discuss any of the above, contact one of our senior consultants, or send an email to Enquiry AHRECS firstname.lastname@example.org.
While our activities are focussed on Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand and…
In this post, Dr Gary Allen reflects on the establishment and conduct of constructive audits.
Dr Gary Allen
When research with current ethics approval is periodically monitored, it is typically a passive process. Institutions, often via their research ethics administration, will ask researchers to self-report on the continued ethical acceptability of a project (and compliance with any conditions of approval). It would not be unreasonable to conclude that self-reporting is not the most effective way to identify if there have been problems with approved projects. Indeed, if things have gone wrong, it is at least possible that the most troublesome researchers might not be entirely honest about what has happened or why.
So, what is the alternative?
Conducting random audits of a small number of active projects…
Nik Zeps and Tanya Symons AHRECS Consultant Breakthroughs in medicine often highlight the existing
When we talk to research higher degree candidates and early career researchers about publication
In this issue, we are publishing an account of an end-of-life project in whose
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