HHS committee approves guidance for Internet-based research

04/24/2013 | Nature (free content)

An HHS advisory committee endorsed a set of 20 ethics recommendations to guide researchers relying on the Internet. For example, researchers conducting an online survey could rely on respondents to check a box confirming they have not misrepresented themselves, but for studies with more personal impact, such as a clinical trial, participants would have to prove their identities, age and understanding of the trial. Critics say the guidelines might subject more areas of research to scrutiny by institutional review boards, but supporters say it might allow those boards to be less guarded.

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