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In defence of a broad approach to public interest in health data research


In their response to ‘Public interest in health data research: laying out the conceptual groundwork’, Grewal and Newson critique us for inattention to the law and putting forward an impracticably broad conceptual understanding of public interest. While we agree more work is needed to generate a workable framework for Institutional Review Boards/Research Ethics Committees (IRBs/RECs), we would contend that this should be grounded on a broad conception of public interest. This broadness facilitates regulatory agility, and is already reflected by some current frameworks such as that found in the guidelines approved under Australia’s Privacy Act. It remains unclear which elements of our broad account Grewal and Newson would reject, or indeed where the substantive disagreement with our position lies.

  • research ethics
  • ethics committees/consultation
  • policy guidelines
  • legal aspects

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