Assessing the social value of research involving minimal risks: who is accountable?
Over time the debate has matured regarding the governance of research ethics boards (REBs), their roles and their mandates, and how their services can be audited for quality control. With the fast changing character of research in every field involving human research participants, today’s REBs can be expected to encounter newer challenges. The last decade of health research has witnessed unprecedentedly large budget initiatives with a global sweep. It is also marked by its growing trans-disciplinary nature. Accordingly, the terrain of research ethics is also changing, and posing new problems. For example, in the absence of a harmonised global research ethics framework and regulatory arrangements, how will the various stakeholders in a research enterprise respond to issues of data sharing, bio-banking, benefit sharing with study communities and research participants and credit sharing in the ever-increasing quantum of international collaborative research in the life sciences that leads to healthcare innovations? Indeed, there is enough to challenge our brains to address these issues in coming times.
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