Research approvals iceberg: helping it melt away

BMC Medical Ethics 20 (1):1-4 (2019)
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Abstract

In their paper “Research approvals iceberg: how a ‘low-key’ study in England needed 89 professionals to approve it and how we can do better” Petrova and Barclay highlight concerns with the health research regulatory environment in the UK. As long-standing chairs of NHS research ethics committees, researchers, and also academics in research ethics, we are also often frustrated with the regulatory process in the UK. However, we think that Petrova and Barclay’s analysis is misleading because it conflates research ethics with governance and funding processes, thus failing to adequately distinguish between the national coordinating function of the Health Research Authority, local research governance processes, and interactions with research sponsors and/or the Clinical Research Network.

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