↓ Skip to main content

Measuring inconsistency in research ethics committee review

Overview of attention for article published in BMC Medical Ethics, November 2017
Altmetric Badge

About this Attention Score

  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (90th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (80th percentile)

Mentioned by

twitter
34 tweeters

Citations

dimensions_citation
15 Dimensions

Readers on

mendeley
22 Mendeley
You are seeing a free-to-access but limited selection of the activity Altmetric has collected about this research output. Click here to find out more.
Title
Measuring inconsistency in research ethics committee review
Published in
BMC Medical Ethics, November 2017
DOI 10.1186/s12910-017-0224-7
Pubmed ID
Authors

Samantha Trace, Simon Erik Kolstoe

Abstract

The review of human participant research by Research Ethics Committees (RECs) or Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) is a complex multi-faceted process that cannot be reduced to an algorithm. However, this does not give RECs/ IRBs permission to be inconsistent in their specific requirements to researchers or in their final opinions. In England the Health Research Authority (HRA) coordinates 67 committees, and has adopted a consistency improvement plan including a process called "Shared Ethical Debate" (ShED) where multiple committees review the same project. Committee reviews are compared for consistency by analysing the resulting minutes. We present a description of the ShED process. We report an analysis of minutes created by research ethics committees participating in two ShED exercises, and compare them to minutes produced in a published "mystery shopper" exercise. We propose a consistency score by defining top themes for each exercise, and calculating the ratio between top themes and total themes identified by each committee for each ShED exercise. Our analysis highlights qualitative differences between the ShED 19, ShED 20 and "mystery shopper" exercises. The quantitative measure of consistency showed only one committee across the three exercises with more than half its total themes as top themes (ratio of 0.6). The average consistency scores for the three exercises were 0.23 (ShED19), 0.35 (ShED20) and 0.32 (mystery shopper). There is a statistically significant difference between the ShED 19 exercise, and the ShED 20 and mystery shopper exercises. ShED exercises are effective in identifying inconsistency between ethics committees and we describe a scoring method that could be used to quantify this. However, whilst a level of inconsistency is probably inevitable in research ethics committee reviews, studies must move beyond the ShED methodology to understand why inconsistency occurs, and what an acceptable level of inconsistency might be.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 34 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 22 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 22 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 4 18%
Researcher 2 9%
Other 2 9%
Student > Doctoral Student 2 9%
Professor > Associate Professor 2 9%
Other 4 18%
Unknown 6 27%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 8 36%
Social Sciences 2 9%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 2 9%
Psychology 1 5%
Physics and Astronomy 1 5%
Other 2 9%
Unknown 6 27%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 20. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 11 December 2017.
All research outputs
#968,528
of 15,467,277 outputs
Outputs from BMC Medical Ethics
#94
of 681 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#37,989
of 409,720 outputs
Outputs of similar age from BMC Medical Ethics
#14
of 71 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 15,467,277 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 93rd percentile: it's in the top 10% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 681 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 11.5. This one has done well, scoring higher than 86% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 409,720 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 90% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 71 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done well, scoring higher than 80% of its contemporaries.