Global Code of Conduct for Research in Resource-Poor Settings


To show respect when engaging with communities requires an acceptance that their customs and cultures may be different from one's own. It means that one may need to accept a decision or a way of approaching a matter, even if one disagrees. Respect is therefore a difficult value, as there is always the possibility that one cannot accept another's decision, especially when this creates a serious conflict of conscience. To find an appropriate route between imperialist-type imposition of approaches and careless acceptance of human rights violations may sometimes be challenging, but it is what researchers with integrity must sometimes address.


Article 8

Potential cultural sensitivities should be explored in advance of research with local communities, research participants and local researchers to avoid violating customary practices. Research is a voluntary exercise for research participants. It is not a mission-driven exercise to impose different ethical values. If researchers from high-income settings cannot agree on a way of undertaking the research that is acceptable to local stakeholders, it should not take place.

Article 9

Community assent should be obtained through recognized local structures, if required locally. While individual consent must not be compromised, assent from the community may be an ethical prerequisite and a sign of respect for the entire community. It is the responsibility of the researcher to find out local requirements.

Article 10

Local ethics review should be sought wherever possible. It is of vital importance that research projects are approved by a research ethics committee in the host country, wherever this exists, even if ethics approval has already been obtained in the high-income setting.

Article 11

Researchers from high-income settings should show respect to host country research ethics committees.

The development of the Global Code of Conduct for Research in Resource-Poor Settings has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 664771