Local research ethics committee approval for a national study in Scotland

J R Coll Surg Edinb. 1998 Oct;43(5):303-5.


The handling of research proposals by different ethics committees has been reported as varying widely from one district to another. Multicentre research projects are particularly liable to delay when dealing with several individual committees. We recently performed a nation-wide postal questionnaire study in Scotland on young patients with oral or oropharyngeal cancer. Our experience indicates that despite calls for standardization of the processes involved wide variations still exist between committees. Fifteen out of 19 committees approached had unique application forms, the number of copies of forms and other documentation required ranged from one to 20, and the time to final approval ranged from 39 to 182 days (mean of 90 days). Improved training and a standardized constitution of committee members is required. A uniform national application form and improved co-operation between neighbouring committees is needed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Ethics Committees / organization & administration*
  • Ethics Committees / statistics & numerical data
  • Forms and Records Control
  • Humans
  • Mouth Neoplasms / genetics
  • Research*
  • Scotland
  • Surveys and Questionnaires