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The value of respect in human research ethics: a conceptual analysis and a practical guide

Abstract

In order to continue to maintain public trust and confidence in human research, participants must be treated with respect. Researchers and Human Research Ethics Committee members need to be aware that modern considerations of this value include: the need for a valid consenting process, the protection of participants who have their capacity for consent compromised; the promotion of dignity for participants; and the effects that human research may have on cultures and communities. This paper explains the prominence of respect as a value when considering the ethics of human research and provides practical advice for both researchers and Human Research Ethics Committee members in developing respectful research practices.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Although, as we later show, within this context, respect is a broader concept.

  2. 2.

    Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Dignity of the Human Being with regard to the Application of Biology and Medicine: Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine; Guidelines for the Conduct of Research Involving Human Subjects at the National Institutes of Health; European Convention on Human Rights; UNESCO Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights (UNESCO 2006), and others.

  3. 3.

    For example: the World Health Organisation: Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences—International Ethical Guidelines for Biomedical Research Involving Human Subjects (CIOMS 2002); the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights (UNESCO 2006) and the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Dignity of the Human Being with Regard to the Application of Biology and Medicine: Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine (Council of Europe).

  4. 4.

    Guardianship Act 1987 (NSW) ss 3D, 33A

    Guardianship and Administration Act 1986 (Vic) s37.

  5. 5.

    There is no reason why this ought to be limited to overseas research. Considerations of on-going impacts that research may have on the future welfare of participants after the completion of the study ought to be a consideration for all research.

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Correspondence to I. J. Pieper.

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Pieper, I.J., Thomson, C.J.H. The value of respect in human research ethics: a conceptual analysis and a practical guide. Monash Bioeth. Rev. 32, 232–253 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40592-014-0016-5

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Keywords

  • Human research ethics
  • Human Research Ethics Committees (HREC)
  • IRB
  • Respect