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

7 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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