When is a REC not a REC? When it is a gatekeeper

Nathan Emmerich*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This essay responds to an article, ‘Variation in university research ethics review’, published in this issue. It argues that the authors of that paper do not fully distinguish the usual function of university research ethics committees (RECs) from that of a gatekeeper. The latter term more accurately describes the task they happen to have asked them to fulfil in the course of conducting some empirical research. Whilst they are not alone in making it, the result of this conflation is that the reflections they offer are misguided. In this short comment I briefly discuss the distinction between a REC and a gatekeeper, and indicate how it impacts on the proposals sketched by Vadeboncoeur et al.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)234-243
Number of pages10
JournalResearch Ethics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes


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