Research into mental disorders has continued to stimulate ethical debate during the past year. The urgent need for research in this field remains transparent, but the need for balance between enabling research and protecting patients continues to generate argument. Informed consent has been the subject of earnest debate in the United Kingdom, while attempts to protect incapacitated patients in the United States have attracted accusations of stifling research. From this baseline, a new movement is emerging, where there are few blanket bans or endorsements of specific types of research on specific groups of people. Instead, the emphasis is switching to patient participation in research and to the process of involving people in research projects.