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How not to argue against mandatory ethics review


There is considerable controversy about the mandatory ethics review of research. This paper engages with the arguments offered by Murray Dyck and Gary Allen against mandatory review, namely, that this regulation fails to reach the standards that research ethics committees apply to research since it is harmful to the ethics of researchers, has little positive evidence base, leads to significant harms (through delaying valuable research) and distorts the nature of research. As these are commonplace arguments offered by researchers against regulation it is useful to assess their strength and the conclusion that they are taken to support, namely, that we ought to move back to a system of trust in researchers without compulsory regulation. Unfortunately, these arguments are at best weak and to some degree come into conflict in terms of supporting the desired conclusion.

  • Applied and Professional Ethics
  • History of Health Ethics/Bioethics
  • Regulation
  • Research Ethics
  • Social Control of Human Experimentation

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