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J Empir Res Hum Res Ethics. 2007 Jun;2(2):41-8. doi: 10.1525/jer.2007.2.2.41.

Applying research ethics guidelines: the view from a sub-saharan research ethics committee.

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  • 1University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (USA).


CONSIDERABLE VARIATION HAS BEEN demonstrated in applying regulations across research ethics committees (RECs) in the U.S., U.K., and European nations. With the rise of international research collaborations, RECs in developing countries apply a variety of international regulations. We conducted a qualitative descriptive pilot study with members of the national REC in Malawi to determine criteria they use to review research, and their views on international collaborations. Qualitative content analysis demonstrated that international guidelines are interpreted in light of local African conditions such that emphasis is placed on examining benefit to the community and ensuring the informed consent process translates concepts in locally-meaningful ways. Members suggest that RECs often must comply with regulations that do not fit local conditions. Recommendations are provided for improving such international collaborations.

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