Intended for healthcare professionals


Ethics review of research and audit

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 24 February 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:431
  1. Kamran Abbasi, acting editor (,
  2. Iona Heath, chair
  1. BMJ
  2. BMJ ethics committee

    Journals should not abdicate their responsibility

    What is the difference between audit and research? This may be an impossible question to answer although it hasn't stopped people trying. The distinction has important consequences, as Derick Wade points out in this issue, one of which is that many ethics committees exclude audit studies from their remit (p 468). 1 Responsibility for classification of a study as research or audit currently rests primarily with the investigator. A question that we are asked frequently is whether or not approval from an ethics committee is required for audit. A second question is whether or not journals consider studies that do not have approval from an ethics committee.

    Researchers understand why ethical approval is required for research. Many investigators also understand that seeking approval from an ethics committee has become a …

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