COPE Forum 8 July 2014: Fair play for “researchers”: Can editors and regulators develop a common approach to the need (or lack of need) for ethical review?

There are a number of legitimate and valuable tools for gaining information and evidence for scientific advance and improving health care. These include research, evaluation, audit, and others. There is a real danger that UK “researchers” using tools other than “research”, duly following guidance in UK research regulation stating a lack of need for ethical review, find that journal editors will not consider their manuscript for publication because editors dispute the definition of what needs or does not need ethical review. Many of these issues, of course, also apply to animal ethics approval.