Ethics requirements for research publication

A guide for Australian researchers, NGOs and independent practitioners
Research institutes Research management Australia
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In an effort to strengthen our continued work and collaboration with those in the sector, the Research for Development Impact (RDI) Network hosts various workshops. Through our recent Ethical Practice Workshops, we identified that there was a need for clarity surrounding policies about ethics review and approvals, and publishing research within Australia. As a result of this need, the RDI Network has compiled this guide with the purpose of providing some clarity and to start a dialogue about access to ethics review processes for researchers, NGO staff, and independent practitioners. This guide expands on mapping previously completed by the RDI Network involving ethics approval processes and requirements, and research organisations and existing partnerships within Asia and the Pacific.

This guide is divided into four sections and one appendix, each comprised of various sub-sections:

Section 2. Ethics Review; provides background on ethical considerations, ethical issues related to human research, and HRECs. Section 2 is broken down into 4 sub-sections; 2.1 outlines why researchers might want or need to seek ethics review from an HREC; 2.2 discusses the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research 2007 to determine when researchers should seek ethics review; 2.3 states the practicalities of where to obtain HREC review and approval; 2.4 unpacks the various levels of risk, and what this means for research and publication.

Section 3. Examples of the Process; outlines the step-by-step process on how to apply for ethics review through two certified and registered HRECs. Section 3 is broken down into 2 sub-sections; 3.1 outlines the ethics application and review process for the University of New South Wales HREC; 3.2 outlines the ethics application and review process for the Bellberry HREC.

Section 4; concludes and provides further information.

Appendix - Publication Requirements; highlights the way in which having ethics approval does or does not affect the publishing of research within Australia. This is achieved through a sampling of publishing requirements for leading Australian academic journals, publishers, grey literature databases, and blogs. As shown, the policies of many academic journals and publishers require authors to declare that ethics approval was received from a HREC. Comparatively, most grey literatures databases do not require authors to make this same declaration. The appendix is broken down in three sections; 1. outlines the requirements for academic journals; 2. outlines the requirements for publishers; 3. outlines the requirements for grey literature databases and blogs.

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