Research Ethics Review:
Guidance for Researchers from
Non-U.S. Universities


The StudyResponse project requires that each researcher request to use StudyResponse participants include documentation of a completed research ethics review process. According to the terms of the StudyResponse institutional review board agreement, the research ethics review process used by U.S. research institutions has to have been conducted by a federally registered IRB at an institution with a federally approved "assurance" (FWA/MPA/CPA/SPA). In effect, each registered U.S. institution is "accredited" by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to run an IRB in accordance with the U.S. standards for ethical research practices.

In parallel to the U.S. system, other countries offer a variety of different strategies for guiding and overseeing the research ethics review process. In Canada, researchers must submit their research proposals to Research Ethics Boards (REBs) that follow the "Tri-Council Policy" for research with humans ( The U.K. has an established system centering on the Central Office for Research Ethics Committees (COREC; COREC maintains an oversight relationship with institutional research ethics committees (RECs). Different situations obtain in Australia and New Zealand: Australia has a centralized National Health and Medical Research Council that oversees 200 local HRECs (human research ethics committees; New Zealand's Health Research Council ( accredits Institutional Ethics Committees (IECs) at a variety of research institutions.

The StudyResponse project has sought permission from its institutional review board to work with researchers from these four countries (Canada, U.K., Australia, and New Zealand). If you conduct research at a university in one of these four countries you may use our researcher registration page to submit a study proposal. In the space provided for IRB registration number, please provide the URL of your institution's research ethics review board. If your institution's review board does not have a website or if the website does not contain information about your review board's relation to the appropriate national research ethics authority, we will require an emailed or faxed letter from a representative of your review board indicating your board's alliance and/or compliance with that authority. With further questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the StudyResponse at admin[at]