Improving research ethics review and governance can improve human health

Paul Glasziou*, Anna Mae Scott, Iain Chalmers, Simon E. Kolstoe, Hugh T. Davies

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


While research oversight is necessary and desirable
for some types and elements of research, we must
also recognise that research review is itself a healthcare intervention and should therefore be subject to
the same evidence-based requirements demanded of
other healthcare interventions. Inefficiencies in any
part of the research process – including its regulation,
governance and ethics review – are harmful to human
health. It is one of five elements that contribute to
an estimated 85% of avoidable health research waste,
which costs over US $100 billion per year. The
inefficiencies are caused by complex administrative
processes that lead to delays, submission of multiple
forms (many of which seem to have no clear purpose)
and requirements that much low- or negligible-risk
research undergoes disproportionate review, often
by large ethics committees constituted with higher
risk projects in mind. In addition to the financial
costs, these inefficiencies can impose considerable
burdens (in terms of time) on researchers and members of research ethics committees.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)556-562
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the Royal Society of Medicine
Issue number12
Early online date11 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


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