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Research Module 4.0 — Ethics in Research

This module addresses standards of ethics that all McMaster research employees are expected to uphold; it also contains information about relevant Research Ethics Boards/Committees that must grant approval for all research projects involving human or animal subjects. Please read the following guidelines and other information carefully.

4.1 Research Integrity

The University revised the Research Integrity Policy in July 2013. This policy now covers all personnel involved in research activities, from PIs through learners at all levels to research staff and research volunteers. All research personnel are required to read and understand the policy as well as hold themselves to the high standard of integrity expected by our institution.

The policy may be found on the Office of Academic Integrity's webpage:

McMaster University: Office of Academic Integrity

4.2 Research Ethics Board for Human Research 

In 2012, the FHS-HHS and SJH REBs combined to form the Hamilton Integrated Research Ethics Board, serving both hospital corporations and the Faculty of Health Sciences. All contact information, forms, meeting schedules and submission deadlines can be found at this link: 

Hamilton Integrated Research Ethics Board (HIREB) website

4.3 Research involving Animals

All research involving the use of living animals or animal tissue must be reviewed by McMaster's Animal REB (AREB). There is a specific process you must follow, including consulting the University Veterinarian while the project is in development. There are also specific SOPs which must be followed. Information on AREB can be found here:

Animal Reserarch Ethics Board (AREB) website

The Central Animal Facility (CAF) oversees the usage of animals housed within the McMaster Health Sciences Centre (HSC) for research purposes. See 4.5 for information regarding mandatory orientation & training with regards to the CAF.

For general information on the CAF and its role regarding research:

Central Animal Facility (CAF) website

4.4 Research with Biological Agents or Cells

The Biosafety Office must be consulted regarding research involving biological agents or cells. All projects involving the use of biohazards must be registered with and approved by this Office.

Biosafety Office website

4.5 Mandatory Ethics Training

1.  Privacy Tutorial

As of January 2006, all researchers and research staff involved in retrospective reviews of patient charts, whether the surgeon's office charts or the paper or electronic charts in Health Records, must complete the online Chart Review Tutorial which can be found at:

Retrospective Chart Review Tutorial

This tutorial covers the Ontario Health Information Protection Act (HIPA) and the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA) which is part of HIPA. Upon completion you will receive a certificate number which is then entered on the Application for Retrospective Review form.

2.  Good Clinical Practice (GCP) Training

As of July 2011, FHS-HHS REB has mandated that all researchers must have Good Clinical Practice Training.  This has been in place with the SJH REB for several years.  It is recommended that you complete the CITI program, located here:

Although the REBs will continue to accept certification from other agencies, ie NCIC, NIH, the Pfizer course, CITI is free to all McMaster, HHS and SJHH employees. When registering, scroll down through the list of Canadian Institutions and choose either McMaster University, Hamilton Health Sciences-McMaster University or St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton-McMaster University as appropriate

3.  Central Animal Facility Orientation and Training

The CAF provides orientation and training for researchers and staff involved in animal research. Training includes animal handling, anesthesia, survival surgery, blood collection, specialized housing protocols and many other topics. If you require this training, the initial orientation session will be scheduled for you by Catherine Gill Pottruff.  CAF will then determine what further courses you will require.


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