Ethics approval, guarantees of quality, and the meddlesome editor

Long, T ORCID: and Fallon, D 2007, 'Ethics approval, guarantees of quality, and the meddlesome editor' , Journal Of Clinical Nursing, 16 (8) , pp. 1398-1404.

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Aims. The authors aim to challenge accepted views about the dissemination of ethically acceptable research, presenting a case for adopting an alternative strategy.
Background. A previous editorial proposed additional ethical censorship of articles submitted for publication in JCN based on the requirement to produce evidence of formal research ethics committee approval.
Main arguments. Such regulation would be both ineffective and undesirable. Much worthwhile, ethical research in the UK falls outside the remit of National Health Service research ethics committees but is subject to alternative means of ethical guidance and scrutiny. A case study demonstrates the difficulties faced by such researchers and illuminates alternative means to ensure and demonstrate ethical research conduct. If researchers comply with relevant requirements pertaining to their discipline, this should be sufficient for the journal. A full discussion should be presented by the author of ethical difficulties faced in the project and how these were addressed.
Conclusion. Regulation of the ethical acceptability of work published in journals has not been widely addressed in the literature. This paper presents challenging arguments, introducing wider perspectives on ethical regulation from other disciplines and proposing an alternative strategy. Answers to the specific questions posed by the editor are offered, concluding that the proposed scheme should not be implemented. The normal process of peer-review should be the means of ensuring the publication of ethically acceptable research.
Relevance to clinical practice. Health care in the UK is situated both within the National Health Service and in the private and voluntary sectors, and the boundary between health and social care continues to be eroded. More clinical research studies will be undertaken that do not fall within the remit of National Health Service research ethics committees. The issues discussed here will become pertinent to an ever-wider group of researchers and clinicians.

Item Type: Article
Themes: Health and Wellbeing
Schools: Schools > School of Health and Society > Centre for Applied Research in Health, Welfare and Policy
Journal or Publication Title: Journal Of Clinical Nursing
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0962-1067
Depositing User: Professor Tony Long
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2011 12:46
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 07:18

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