The ESRC's 2010 Framework for Research Ethics: Fit for Research Purpose?

Liz Stanley, Sue Wise

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The ESRC's (2010) Framework for Research Ethics extends the remit of its 2005 research ethics framework in three significant ways: the system is to be fully mandatory and it will no longer be possible to make the case that no out of the ordinary ethical issues arise; the Research Ethics Committees (RECs) set up under the ESRC's 2005 document have extended remit, including reviewing all research proposals accepted by the ESRC and other funding bodies; and funding will depend on the REC review, with its purview extending through a project's life. The 2010 document is reviewed in detail and the conclusion is drawn that it is not fit for purpose. Six wider issues raised by the FRE document are discussed: the consultation process by the ESRC was insufficient and the informed consent of the social science community was not obtained; the ethics creep involved will involve unnecessary bureaucratisation; the RECs will operate without expert discipline-specific knowledge using unethical generalist criteria; the overall effects long-term will be deleterious to the research base; the FRE document unacceptably ignores the professional associations and their research ethics guidelines; and the ESRC's system of the expert peer review of funding applications will be undermined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)-
Number of pages10
JournalSociological Research Online
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2010


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