A single broken thread: Integrity, trust and accountability in Asian ethics committees

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In exploring the work and role of ethics review committees in Asia, this paper takes as its starting point an image of a finely woven silk cloth. The image was used at an international conference to describe the ‘matrix’ of persons and institutions involved in biomedical research, with the implication that broken threads threatened the integrity of research endeavours. In what follows, I examine two points at which breaks in the cloth are perceived, and the work done to ‘bridge’ the resulting gaps. Drawing on fieldwork with a capacity building NGO that works to build the competence of research ethics committees in the Asian region, I show how the image can be used to understand the place of ethics as a contemporary concern in research settings.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDurham Anthropology Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • research ethics
  • capacity building
  • trust
  • Asia

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