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.
Investigating an ethical barrier – should HRECs require gatekeeper approval from universities before external research?
Investigating an ethical barrier – should HRECs require gatekeeper approval from universities before external research? | In this traffic post, Kate Christian questions the elephant in the room when it comes to research about universities.
Why do ethics committees require the approval of the institution?
Especially when participants aren’t vulnerable.
Whose interests are they protecting and why?
For national research, the results can be time-consuming, frustrating and add a little to the research.
Early career researchers might meekly accept this but it sucks time, energy and resources. But research Ethics committees should ask themselves the questions: Is this efficient and is it fair? Insisting upon institutional approval may well be skewing the data and distorting the results?
What do HREC members think and do when deciding about children’s participation in social research? Results from the MESSI survey
In this guest post, Associate Professor Stephanie Taplin (UTS) reflects upon the reflections and attitudes of members of a research ethics committee when reviewing a project involving sensitive issues, where the participants are young people.
She reflects upon the degree that this consideration is based upon standards and expectations that are often not transparent to researchers and can be an impediment to useful/important research.
This post is based upon a longer research output that was about research exploring those attitudes.
This included whether there were topics that a research ethics committee member would never approve for a research project to explore with young people.
This work points to the need for specialist professional development for committee members relating to research on sensitive issues with young people.
This also raises the question of what guidance material institutions publish for researchers and for reference by research ethics reviewers.
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.
Research institutions have a responsibility under the Australian Code to ‘Provide ongoing training and education
Mark Israel Mark Israel’s article in Research Ethics Monthly on ‘Self-plagiarism?’ has been receiving a little
Question for Research Ethics Monthly readers: Win for your institution a new 12-month subscription to https://www.ahrecs.vip
Prof. Mark Israel and Dr Gary Allen We would like to encourage institutions to
Many Australian research bodies link to the National Statement. They do so through websites, policy documents, professional development material and other resources.
This is logical and makes it easier for researchers and others to access the national policy/guidance material.
Another reason to do this is that it makes it easier for researchers to see the external impetus for the institution’s arrangements and provides a source of further information and guidance.