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Protection of Human Subjects

Since the publication of the Belmont Report in 1979, federally funded research organisations have had a responsibility to ensure that human research subjects receive an appropriate level of protection, including protection from unethical research. What this has meant is that proposed research projects have been subject to prospective review by a committee, variously called an institutional review board in the United States, a research ethics board in Canada, or a research ethics committee (REC) in the UK and Australia.

Initially focused on biomedical research, the practice of reviewing research proposals with regard to their ethical propriety has come to be applied to all forms of research involving so-called human subjects and is central to what is today termed ‘research governance’. This entry outlines the origins of ...

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