IRB: Ethics & Human Research

Points to Consider: The Research Ethics Consultation Service and the IRB

Research ethics consultation is increasingly recognized as a potentially valuable mechanism for addressing the depth and breadth of ethical issues that arise in research related to human health and well-being. However, fundamental questions remain, including: What is “research ethics consultation”? And what is its justification beyond the purposes already served by existing entities? We examine how a research ethics consultation service may differ from or complement the role of an institutional review board by offering a definition of research ethics consultation and by exploring the potential scope of a consultation service in terms of types of clients served, questions addressed, and advice provided at various stages of the research process. We then consider the relationship between research ethics consultation services and IRBs, as well as the issues that may arise between them, including possible conflicts of interest.

Key words/concepts: research ethics consultation, research ethics, ethical review, institutional review boards, conflicts of interest

Beskow, Laura M., Christine Grady, Ana S. Itlis, et al. “Points to Consider: The Research Ethics Consultation Service and the IRB,” IRB: Ethics & Human Research, 31 no. 6 (2009): 1-9.