Building Capacity in Ethical Review

Compliance and Transformation in the Asia-Pacific Region

in The Cambridge Journal of Anthropology
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  • 1 IT University of Copenhagen rdoj@itu.dk
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Abstract

Capacity building in biomedical research ethics review has been a European priority since the early 2000s. Prompted by the increase in data originating in internationally sponsored trials in emerging economies, a range of capacity building initiatives were put in place in the field of ethical review to ensure the protection of human subjects participating in research. Drawing on fieldwork with the Forum for Ethical Review Committees in the Asian and Western Pacific Region, I explore two distinct forms taken by capacity building within that organization to support and train members of ethics review committees. The first, with an emphasis on standards and measurability, takes as its priority international accountability for clinical trial research. The second explores how the organization goes about persuading trainees to see and do ‘ethics’ differently. This distinction between forms of capacity allows me to explore what will count as ‘success’ in research ethics capacity building.

Contributor Notes

Rachel Douglas-Jones is Associate Professor at the IT University of Copenhagen, where she co-directs the ETHOS Lab. She conducts research on questions of ethics and the governance of science at the intersection of anthropology and science and technology studies through her participation in projects concerned with biomedical data, clinical trial infrastructures and research integrity. Her recent publications include ‘A “Good” Ethical Review: Audit and Professionalism in Research Ethics’ (Social Anthropology, 2015) and ‘Claiming and Knowing the Real’ (Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 2016). This article is part of a research agenda concerned with the range of roles given to ethics committees and codes of conduct in the national and transnational governance of scientific research.

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