Research Ethics in COVID-19: long vs short science

Research output: Other contribution


1. Since January 2020 Research Ethics Committees have rapidly reviewed COVID-19 related protocols, often in a matter of hours.
2. From experience as an independent research ethics committee chair, approximately half of the COVID-19 related protocols are well justified, designed and likely to produce robust evidence. The other half are hastily put together and with little scientific justification, often as a reaction to short term, poorly articulated, requests.
3. It has been estimated that even in normal times “85% of research is wasted, usually because it asks the wrong questions, is badly designed, not published or poorly reported.”1
4. The public and politicians are not well equipped to judge the quality or reliability of scientific research. An inability to distinguish between good and bad research leads to poor decision making.
5. Research Ethics Committees (as already constituted) could play an expanded role in helping to judge the quality of research evidence. Their reviews are fundamentally different from the scientific advice currently received by government.
Original languageEnglish
TypeEvidence to select committee
Media of outputWritten
PublisherScience and Technology Committee (Commons)
Number of pages8
Place of PublicationOnline
VolumeSession 2019-21
Publication statusPublished - 10 Sept 2020


  • Research Waste
  • Ethics


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