Ethical Standards for Research on Human and Animal Subjects
The Ethical Standards Committee is a sub-committee of Rhodes University Research Committee. It ensures that all activities at Rhodes University are performed responsibly and meet highest ethical standards. This is particularly relevant for teaching and research involving humans or animals.
Any research and class projects in which humans or animals are involved must therefore have prior clearance from a Rhodes Ethics committee. This follows a formal application using an application form and mostly supplemental information, such as informed consent forms and a research methodology.
Several departmental research committees facilitate the Rhodes Ethics committee for research within a specific area and particularly for student research. Please consult the corresponding Head of Department or Dean for options of submitting an ethics application to a dedicated ethics committee. Otherwise, any application can be submitted to the Rhodes Ethics Committee. Full details and application forms are presented in the documents listed below.
The basic consideration of ethics is to minimise the risks of harm and discomfort to participants and animals respectively. This is due to the fact that any involvement of humans or animals interferes with their physical, intellectual and social being. The research must be set up in a way that this impact is as minimal as possible, and the ethics application must provide a comprehensive reasoning on this aspect. Further, the benefits of the research have to outweigh the risk(s), as otherwise the research has to be considered as unethical per se. In this context the methodology is of crucial relevance, as only a properly designed research may provide a benefit that justifies the risks.
- There is no possibility of ex-post ratification! Any ethics approval must be obtained PRIOR to data collection.
- Theses and other pieces of research that contribute to an academic degree may be considered as invalid if performed without ethical clearance. The onus to obtain ethical clearance, if applicable, is on the researcher and supervisor (as a matter of fact, though).
- Most publishers require ethical approval (if applicable) for accepting manuscripts.
- Using University resources and structures (e.g. recruiting participants among students or staff) may require further approval from Human Resource Division, the Registar or the Dean of Students, depending on the nature of involvement.
2013 Committee meeting schedule
Applications will be processed immediately after reception. Depending on the review outcome approval may be granted directly, or a commitee discussion may be required. For the latter case applications must be submitted 3 weeks prior to each meeting:
- 15 March 2013 (applications due 22 February)
- 31 May 2013 (applications due 9 May)
- 16 August 2013 (applications due 26 July)
- 6 November 2013 (applications due 16 October)
Human Ethics Approval Application Form
(at present any animal research applications for ethical clearance must use the same procedures and form as for human research)
Current activities of the ethics committee
The Ethics Standards Committee is currently pursuing the following projects to improve service and efficiency of handling ethical matters:
- Implementation of an electronic application processing and management system (RIMS)
- Defintion of Standard Operating Procedures for the Ethics committee and related instances
- Definition and implementation of Standards for Departmental Ethics Committees
- National Accreditation of the Ethics Standards Committee
Rhodes University Ethical Standards Committee c/o firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 046-603 8055.
Matthias Göbel: Chairperson Rhodes Ethics Standards Committee (email: email@example.com)