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Review of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research ethics guidelines submission

This submission reflects the views of
Organisation Name: 
The University of Melbourne
Personal Details
Specific Questions
Question 1: 
The University welcomes the extension of the guidelines to include research across all disciplines. It is likely that broadening of the guidelines will invite research informed by many different methodologies and approaches. This may require some flexibility in applying the guidelines to some kinds of projects without diminishing their intent. It is suggested that the documents include some advice concerning data, biological samples, artefacts that have already been collected and the processes required for these to be used for future research.
Question 2: 
While it is valuable to have information about intellectual property included in both of the revised drafts, it would be useful to have further explanation about how this will be implemented. Examples of how this will work in practice could be useful additions.
Question 3: 
It would be valuable to include a case study or some examples of how the guidelines might be applied in different situations and across HASS and STEM research areas. UM may be able to assist with some examples here but would need some further discussion with relevant researchers. research undertaken with Aboriginal patients in a hospital in Alice Springs, a health project carried out in a remote community, a project recording language or stories in a community, a project testing children in a local community school, a project interviewing Aboriginal stakeholders about use of health / other services in a major capital city; survey of Indigenous students about their experiences of university life. Examples should encompass qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches and include large- and small-scale design. It would be useful to have some examples with some more detail about some particular kinds of research which raise specific issues that need to be addressed. For example, issues of consent in relation to genetic testing - i.e. samples collected in the past when formal consent procedures were not in place at that time (or no specific consent for research) and researchers are now interested in re-examining the samples. What is the process for obtaining community consent? If this is not included in the main body of either document it could be included in an appendix.
General comments

In a preamble in both documents include a statement about using the guidelines for best outcomes but also acknowledge this will also require all parties to use sound judgement and to be flexible to achieve what good research outcomes. Formal negotiated written agreements may be most useful for some kind of research and not necessary for smaller projects. The paragraph at the bottom of the page on page 13 (KROT II) reflects this and could have more prominence and be included in both documents.

Page reviewed: 2 August, 2018