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Variations in REC/IRB Systems

Ethics regulation varies between different countries. Some have sophisticated systems of ethics governance; some have more rudimentary systems; some have none at all. A good overview of this is given in chapter 4 of Research Ethics and Integrity for Social Scientists (2nd edn) by Mark Israel. This Framework contains links to national guidance on ethics regulation from EU countries where such guidance exists.


Canada (available in English and French)

Office for Human Research Protections

USA – the Institutional Review Board system is mandated and monitored by the Office for Human Research Protections. Although IRBs were originally developed to manage government liability risks in biomedical research, their jurisdiction now covers most research in the US, other than that carried out entirely within private sector organizations. The OHRP also has a useful list of laws, regulations and guidelines from 131 countries, although this focuses mainly on the biomedical domain.

There is a specific list of social-behavioral research standards at this domain

UK Research and Innovation

The UK are currently working on a new policy, subsequent to the reorganization of the Research Council structure For the present, standards are set by reference to domain. See also the following domain

Appendix 1 of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics Report The ethics of research related to healthcare in developing countries has some useful resources, although they are quite strongly focussed on the biomedical domain.

The Norwegian National Research Ethics Committees are independent agencies for questions regarding research ethics, and investigation of misconduct, within all subject areas.

Center for Engineering Ethics and Society

This holds a lot of mainly US resources on engineering ethics.

The UK Royal Academy of Engineering has a long-standing interest in ethical issues raised by its members work. This page links to a number of statements and reports.