Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Hello Everyone!
Welcome to the 864 blog...I hope that you will use this space to make comments about the Tri-Council Policy. Let's see how it works! Maureen


  1. Hi Everyone,

    I went through the TCPS tutorial and readings and I had some questions/ comments that I would like some feedback on.

    First, one of the goals of the TCPS is "to harmonize the ethics review process. The Agencies expect that REBs will benefit from common procedures within a shared ethical framework. This will also benefit those projects involving researchers from different disciplines or institutions."

    I do not agree that 'harmonize' is the best word to use in the policy since it implies that all cases are considered from a similar standpoint. When in fact all projects are unique and need to be analyzed with a different lens. Each situation depends on the context, subjects involved, type of research, method of data collection/ analysis and so on. The basis for having a research ethics board is to analyze the different cases using some underlying "screening" criteria that can be applied to cases, however all research projects are different and each has its own requirements and demands that need to be analyzed independently of other cases or a 'cookie cutter' mold. Such as cases that pose more risk and thus undergo more scrutiny from the board members.

  2. My second question concerns the membership of the REB. The policy states that "REBs that review biomedical research are required to have a member knowledgeable in the relevant law." Does this statement also apply research in other fields of study such as the natural sciences, engineering and so on where an expert who is knowledgeable in the law is needed to be a part of the board members?

  3. In reply to Pam's comments, I think the term harmonize is used to mean "converge" - in the sense that if researchers and the REB both fully understand the guidelines, then they will find it easier to apply for and grant approval to do research. Everyone knows what is expected.
    To the second point, I would assume that this would also apply in the natural sciences and engineering, from my reading of the documents.

  4. If a researcher uses only information in the public domain, then they may not need approval - or at the very least, expedited approval. What if I publish my research data publicly as it is generated, immediately placing it in the public domain? Does this preclude me from ethics approval?