Inadequate reporting of research ethics review and informed consent in cluster randomised trials: review of random sample of published trialsBMJ 2011; 342 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d2496 (Published 11 May 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d2496
All rapid responses
Health studies have a crucial role in acquainting with health
problems in developing countries but without adherence to globally agreed
scientific and ethical standards the results will be waste of time, money
and energy. (1,2) I always mull over my role as a referee of research
articles and proposals or member of panel of juries in viva sessions. I
sometimes come across with unjustified and misleading claims and
controversies in the conduct of research especially by young researchers.
The other issue which provokes considerable ethical concern for me is the
use of others' work in research reports without adequate and proper
acknowledgement of original document. All these impediments are widespread
challenges for international research community (3) but particularly in
Some scholars believe that due to variety of reasons like lack of
proficiency in foreign language, knowledge gap and diversities in research
setting (4, 5) adaptation of all research standards in transitional
developing countries is not feasible. Based on this theory we should
prepare all underlying prerequisites and then anticipate a standard
To tackle effectively the dilemmas currently we are facing in the
conduct of research processes however, we need to take some proactive
At first we should end the debate over necessity of following
international standard ethical guidelines in developing countries. These
guidelines are not intended to restrict or impede research activities but
instead they act as an abstract resource to enhance transparency of
research processes and to keep them on required quality track. So the
issue is not discussing why or when these guidelines should be adapted in
developing countries. Our key role is to show how they can be applied in
practice without interference with local limitations.
The second responsibility will be to develop a consistent framework
to monitor research activities from first to the last step to ensure their
compatibility with scientific ethical standards.
At last but not at least, we should increase costs of deviance from good
practice guidelines in research activities. There is a hidden curriculum
in our research performance for our follow students. Differ from what we
teach formally in research methodology courses, young students learn more
from what we do in practice.
If people learn that there are shortcuts to scramble up the
professional development ladder and the consequences of breaching the
research ethical covenant set is not very serious and even probably is
beneficial it will be very difficult to resist against temptation to
infringe professional commitments. As a consequence we can hardly trust
research findings as empirical evidence to be used for problem solving.
Dr A Shaghaghi
2 Assistant Professor of Community Health, Health Education & Promotion Department, Faculty of Health & Nutrition, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, PC: 5166614711, Tabriz, Iran.
1.Johnson JT, Niparko JK, Levine PA, Kennedy DW, Rudy SF, Weber P et
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2.Jordan KP, Lewis M. Improving the quality of reporting of research
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3.Luther F. Publication ethics and scientific misconduct: the role of
authors. J Orthod. 2008 Mar;35(1):1-4.
4.Pitak-Arnnop P, Dhanuthai K, Hemprich A, Pausch NC. Research and
publication ethics: what have we learned thus far? Oral Surg Oral Med Oral
Pathol Oral Radiol Endod. 2011 Jan;111(1):10-2.
5.Macklin R. International research: ethical imperialism or ethical
pluralism? Account Res. 1999;7(1):59-83.
Competing interests: No competing interests