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The following perspectives are offered for your consideration. If these practices are not supported by your institution, consider starting a conversation with others about how to enable more support for this approach. You are also invited to consider your own practice and where you might go for more support to strengthen the ethical approach of your work.

Supporting Ethical Practice in Global Research

Are these norms embedded in my practice and institution?

Policies and practices designed for a journey

Ethics is relevant across the entire research journey, and beyond – from research idea to legacy. Policies and practices need to reflect this and be expecting, and responsive to, changes in projects as they progress.

Investing in circular processes

In complex research things may deviate from the initial plan. Our ethics approval processes should therefore be reiterative – not a one-off approval process with no follow-up.

Process that support solutions and speaking up

Researchers are encouraged to speak up when confronted with ethical challenges and to reach out and seek support from peers in the global academic village. We must expect the reporting of changes and challenges within the research and actively support solution-finding.

Designing fit-for-purpose processes

Ethics is contextual as well as being governed by regulations and legislation. Robust ethical application processes are those that highlight potential contextual issues and regulatory conflicts. 

Robust ethics processes must have both an approval and a support component

Accountability for complex projects should include:

  • Independent review of all projects (not signed off by PI or supervisor)
  • A process for reporting on, and sharing, challenges encountered and solutions reached (for both enhanced accountability and to promote a culture of learning)

Support may include access to a peer support person or reference group – i.e. a non-decision making body/person to provide collegial ethics support to global researchers and partners.