BMC Medical Ethics 18 (1):57 (2017)

Protecting human subjects from being exploited is one of the main ethical challenges for clinical research. However, there is also a responsibility to protect and respect the communities who are hosting the research. Recently, attention has focused on the most efficient way of carrying out clinical research, so that it benefits society by providing valuable research while simultaneously protecting and respecting the human subjects and the communities where the research is conducted. Collaboration between partners plays an important role and that is why we carried out a study to describe how collaborative partnership and social value are emerging in clinical research. A supra-analysis design for qualitative descriptive secondary analysis was employed to consider a novel research question that pertained to nurse leaders’ perceptions of ethical recruitment in clinical research and the ethics-related aspects of clinical research from the perspective of administrative staff. The data consisted of two separate pre-existing datasets, comprising 451 pages from 41 interviews, and we considered the research question by using deductive-inductive content analysis with NVivo software. A deductive analysis matrix was generated on the basis of two requirements, namely collaborative partnership and social value, as presented in An Ethical Framework for Biomedical Research by Emanuel et al. The findings showed that collaborative partnership was a cornerstone for ethical clinical research and ways to foster inter-partner collaboration were indicated, such as supporting mutual respect and equality, shared goals and clearly defined roles and responsibilities. In addition, the social value of clinical research was an important precondition for ethical clinical research and its realisation required the research partners to demonstrate collaboration and shared responsibility during the research process. However, concerns emerged that the multidimensional meaning of clinical research for society was not fully recognised. Achieving greater social value for clinical research required greater transparency, setting research priorities, shared responsibility for the dissemination and use of the findings and stronger community awareness of the ethics-related aspects of clinical research. Collaborative partnership and social values are essential for protecting the human subjects and communities involved in clinical research.
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DOI 10.1186/s12910-017-0217-6
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