Skip to main content

Contextualising Merit and Integrity within Human Research

Abstract

The first consideration of any Australian Human Research Ethics Committee should be to satisfy itself that the project before them is worth undertaking. If the project does not add to the body of knowledge, if it does not improve social welfare or individual wellbeing then the use of human participants, their tissue or their data must be questioned. Sometimes, however, committees are criticised for appearing to adopt the role of scientific review committees. The intent of this paper is to provide researchers with an understanding of the ethical importance of demonstrating the merit of their research project and to help them develop protocols that show ethics committees that adequate attention has been paid to this central tenet in dealing ethically with human research participants. Any person proposing human research must be prepared to show that it is worthwhile. This paper will clarify the relationship between research merit and integrity, research ethics and the responsibilities of human research ethics committees.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Easterbrook, P.J.; Berlin, J.A. 1991, ‘Publication bias in clinical research’, Lancet, Vol. 337 Issue 8746.

  2. Jonas, H. 1969. ‘Philosophical Reflections on Experimenting with Human Subjects’, Daedalus; Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Spring 1969: 219–247.

  3. NHMRC. 2007a. Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research. Available at: http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/publications/synopses/r39syn.htm.

  4. NHMRC. 2007b. ‘National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research’, Australian Government National Health and Medical Research Council & Australian Vice-Chancellor’s Committee. Canberra.

    Google Scholar 

  5. NHMRC. 2011. Statement of Research Question, http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/publications/hrecbook/02_ethics/39.htm.

  6. Rhodes, R. 2005. ‘Rethinking Research Ethics’, The American journal of Bioethics, 5(1): 7–28.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Steneck, N. H. 2000. ‘Assessing the Integrity of Publicly Funded Research’, A background report for the ORI Research Conference on Research Integrity.

  8. Steneck, N. H. 2003. ‘The Role of Professional Societies in Promoting Integrity in Research’, American Journal of Health Behavior, 2003: 27(Suppl 3):239–247.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Stern, J. M.; Simes, R. J. 1991. ‘Publication bias: evidence of delayed publication in a cohort study of clinical research projects’, British Medical Journal, Vol. 315, No. 7109.

  10. World Medical Organization. 1996. ‘World Medical Organization Declaration of Helsinki’, British Medical Journal. Vol. 313. No. 7070: 1448–1449.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Ian Pieper BIT, Grad. Cert. HRM or Colin J. H. Thomson BA, LLB, LLM(Hons).

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Pieper, I., Thomson, C.J.H. Contextualising Merit and Integrity within Human Research. Monash Bioethics Review 29, 39–48 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03351329

Download citation

Keywords

  • Human Research
  • National Statement
  • MONASH Bioethic Review
  • Australian Code
  • Integrity Article