Research ethics committees

What is this about?

Research Ethics Committees (RECs) were developed after WW2, particularly in response to the Nazi doctors’ trials. An Ethics Committee or Institutional Review Board is responsible for ensuring that medical experimentation and human research are carried out in an ethical manner (1).

Why is this important?

Research ethics committees have been created with two main goals. First is to protect the rights, safety, dignity and well-being of research participants; and second is to facilitate and promote ethical research that is of potential benefit to participants, science and society (2).

For whom is this important?

Ethics committee members, Research integrity trainers

What are the best practices?

Several documents and declarations have been developed to address the issue of ethical research committees. European Network of Research Ethics Committees - EUREC is a network that brings together existing national Research Ethics Committees, networks or comparable initiatives on the level of European Union. REC can be established for each academic institution and/or universities. In the United States, Institutional Review boards (IRBs) exist in both academic and state institutions.


1. Yenikekaluva A. Research Ethics for Health Science Involving Human Experiments. Available at: Accessed 29 May, 2019.
2. Research Ethics Service (RES) - Health Research Authority. 2016. Accessed 10 Jan 2016.)

Marin Viđak contributed to this theme.

Latest contribution was May 29, 2019