Researchers must immediately report any complaints from participants or unexpected events that may affect the continued ethical acceptability of the project to the Human Ethics Manager: email@example.com, +61 2 6125 6782.
The Australian National University takes every complaint seriously. Once a complaint has been submitted, the Research Ethics Office or the Chair of the Committee will investigate the allegations. Investigations may take up to 6 weeks.
Complaints about ANU research
If you are a participant and have a complaint or concern about the research that you participated in, you can find contact details of the research team on the Participant Information Sheet. If you would prefer to discuss your complaint with someone that is not on the research team, contact the Human Ethics Manager: firstname.lastname@example.org, +61 2 6125 6782.
The Ethics Office will advise the Chair of the relevant Ethics Committee, and (if applicable) the primary investigator, of the complaint. The Chair will consider the complaint and will take what action they deem appropriate as soon as possible. Actions may include:
- verifying that the researcher has conducted themselves according to the approved protocol
- requesting the researcher take steps to rectify the issue by, for example, deleting participant data or issuing an apology
- nominating the Director of the Research Services Division to meet with the participant and/or the researcher
- temporarily suspending ethics approval
All actions will be conducted in a confidential manner.
Complaints about the ethical review process
According to the National Statement Chapter 5.6, researchers may issue complaints about the process of ethical review, but cannot appeal a final decision to reject an ethics application.
Requests for the researcher to resubmit the application with amendments are common when inadequate information is provided in the original application. Applications are rejected rarely and only after careful consideration of the application. If an application is being considered for rejection, the researcher will be given an opportunity to address the Committee’s concerns in person at an interview or Committee meeting. The decision by the Committee to reject an application is final and may not be appealed.
Complaints about the process of ethical review must be made in writing to the Director of the Research Services Division, who will inform the Chair of the Committee of the complaint, and investigate to resolve the matter.
Dr Douglas Robertson
Director, Research Services Division
Complaint about the conduct of an ANU researcher
Has this research project got ethics approval?
Academic research involving data collection from human participants may require Ethics approval. If you are a participant, you should receive a Participant Information Sheet when taking part in a research study. On the Information Sheet, you can find the Ethics Committee Clearance number (Protocol YYYY/NNN). If you suspect academic research has been conducted without appropriate Ethics approval, please contact the Human Ethics Manager: email@example.com, +61 2 6125 6782.