A Decent Proposal: Ethical Review of Clinical ResearchBMJ 1997; 314 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.314.7094.1632 (Published 31 May 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:1632
- Susan Bewley, director of obstetrics
- Guy's and St Thomas's Hospitals Trust, London
D Evans, M Evans / John Wiley and Sons, £24.95, pp 230 / ISBN 0471 96334 8
All of us like to think that we practise to high ethical standards and that these standards carry over to our research activities. I am not alone in finding the review process of research ethics committees a tiresome hurdle, and I thank goodness that I have not been invited to sit on one. And the BMJ wanted me to review a whole book? Well, it was a good read and enlightening about the fundamental importance of ethical review. The authors know their subject thoroughly from both a theoretical and practical background, and have peppered the test on virtually every page with light hearted quotations just in case you might consider putting the book down to have a cup of tea.
Starting with some history of research ethics committees, they ask whether it should be a societal obligation to take part in research (like paying tax). Our Western liberal view is that the research …