The authors of a recent article in Science (DOI: 10.1126/science.aad5269), consider Research Ethics Committees (RECs) processes for approving projects that involve international data sharing. They note that
‘growth in international data-sharing collaborations adds stress to the system already under fire for subjecting multisite research to replicate ethics reviews, which can inhibit research without improving the quality of human subject’s protections.[citations omitted]’
In the article the authors look at models – of reciprocity, delegation and federation -that could provide basis for a ‘bottom-up’ solution, so that these large scale linkage projects might occur more readily. They suggest that ‘ad-hoc’ solutions should be supported in an effort to improve a system which currently is ‘not working well.’ They substantiate this proposition by clarifying that these solutions should be subject to ‘metrics to evaluate the quality and efficiency of ethics review in the current system and in the proposed models.’
The authors, members of the Ethics Review Equivalency (ERE) Task Team of the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH) Regulatory and Ethics Working Group, (including CLG Director, Dianne Nicol) will also participate in a Symposium to be held in Montreal, Canada in May this year to discuss this further.